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Reach Out and Touch No One ... and Everyone

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h1 If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Morpheus, The Matrix

There are 100 billion neurons in our brains. Combined, they work as a rapid transit communications network empowering us to explore the world around us. Amazingly, none of them touch. Neurons are physically disconnected, independent, but when they fire in tandem, whether in parallel or serially, they allow us to distinguish colors, to choose our words carefully (or not), to scratch an itch, to take a deep breath when we feel nervous, and to appreciate the humor of the Spanish Inquisition.

Similarly, each of our mobile devices (phones, tablets, aircards, SIM-enabled gizmos, NFC-aware gadgets) is untethered. Collectively, working in concert within the sea of towers, base stations and hotspots, they orchestrate a by-the-second window (and running commentary) into virtually everything we do. We are super-connected in an ever broadening digital landscape. According to IDC, the public Internet grew by close to two zettabytes last year; during this period and contributing to the phenomenon, SAY processed over 500 billion discrete elements of data on behalf of our advertising and media partners.

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But our planet is also getting smaller, or at the very least more easily traveled. Boeing’s new Dreamliner and the rival AirBus 350 soon expect to deliver a commercial range of +11,000 miles, effectively connecting nearly any two points on the globe in a single flight, surpassing the current nonstop leader: Singapore Airlines Flight 21 (10,000 miles from Newark to Singapore). The world is rapidly expanding and unfurling for us at the same time.

In a word, both our biology and our mobile technology systems are cellular, and by taking both together, we are able to fuel something bigger than ourselves.

As brand advertisers, we have the opportunity to plug into both of these networks at once, to access the biological basis of consumer behavior through technology. By tapping into this matrix, products can be presented through a delicate but deliberate lens that paints a pleasant landscape around judgments, insecurities, or unknowns, to make us feel attractive, confident, heard and perhaps most importantly, present and accounted for as part of something larger, bolder, more relevant. Volkswagen once challenged consumers to participate in this exchange, to consider themselves as Drivers before qualifying for a Jetta, Passat or Golf. It was clever and fed into the belief that we can sometimes lose active acknowledgement of our path, like driving home from work, pulling up to our garage and not remembering how we quite got there.

What the Bleep Do We Know, a little-seen but powerful film, proclaimed that “brain, when it fires its thoughts, is likened unto the landscape of a thundercloud, and the synaptic cleft is the sky between.” The gap between neurons is bridged at the speed of thought. The air between our smartphones and cell towers are closed in parts of seconds. And the spaces between brand and consumer are merely one great advertising moment away from fulfillment.

Doug Grinspan is the Global Mobile Sales Director at SAY Media.

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