SAY HELLO TO AVA
Say Hello to AVA was a branded experience Lassor used to collect substantive research on public attitudes and opinions about self-driving cars. AVA, or the Autonomous Voice Assistant, was an artificially intelligent digital persona that inhabited and controlled an autonomous vehicle. Lassor staged an unveiling of AVA at the Union Square Farmers Market in which participants were invited to say hello to AVA, and have a brief conversation about the future of mobility with her.
THE TRUTH ABOUT AVA:
In reality, AVA was not actually an intelligent digital platform. Lassor hid an iPad beneath a false steering wheel. The iPad contained a camera that fed a live video feed to a voice actress hired to play the persona of AVA. The voice actress, Lauren, was trained in improvisational performance, and Lassor worked with her to develop a spontaneous and engaging personality.
The AVA brand persona guidelines Lassor prepared were extensive; over ten pages that outlined the charters backstory, childhood traumas, and motives. It contained a loose script and three ‘acts’ which helped the conversation flow in a way that lent itself to Lassor’s research.
Why was AVA just Ten?
The constraint of AVA's youth served Lassor's intent in three ways.
AVA’s age framed her conversations around Lassor's research topic. If you were a car that couldn’t drive, you’d be curious, too.
Some research subjects are hostile towards new technology. But who could get mad at a ten year old? AVA's youth disarmed partisipants for better conversations
Sadly, Lassor could not make a real self-driving car. AVA’s age helped passengers suspend disbelief since it provided a pretext for her inability to drive.
In addition to AVA's branded persona, Lassor created a logo and brand guidelines that were used to produce a unified experience for participants. For example, a website, newsletter, and flyer were created using AVA's unique tone and brand (pictured below).