This Is The Only Wearable Tech You Need To Perfectly Time Your Mortal End
By Rae Ann Fera
Quitbit doesn't time your run. It's for when your time runs out.
The one great truth in life is that no one gets out alive. Yet for something so universal, people rarely want to talk about their own eventual demise—let alone actually plan for it.
Thankfully, there’s Quitbit, a new piece of wearable technology that measures aspects of your health and lifestyle habits to determine exactly when you’ll bite the dust, so even funeral planning procrastinators can have the funeral of their dreams.
Or not. Perhaps rather obviously, Quitbit is not real but is rather a satirical vehicle to get people talking about how they’d like to close their final act in life. Created by Toronto agency UNION for funeral services provider Mount Pleasant Group, the send-up of the wearables trend is meant to draw attention to the fact that funerals don’t just happen by themselves, and planning ahead saves loved ones of a lot of grief during their time of grief.
As part of Mount Pleasant Group’s longer effort Art of Saying Goodbye—which included a series of legacy films—the purpose of this note-perfect parody is to appeal to a younger, tech-savvy audience, and encourage them to give their final legacy at least the same consideration as their last, totally Instagrammable, birthday party.
‘Quitbit:’ Funeral home group hopes humorous ad will get you thinking about death
Susan Krashinsky - MARKETING REPORTER The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 08,
With a panoply of tech tools and toys, it’s now possible to quantify almost everything about our lives. We can track our sleep cycles, count the steps we take in a day, measure our heart rate, and count calories. But what about counting the days you have left on Earth? Is there an app for that?
Meet the Quitbit – like the popular Fitbit, it’s a wristband people can wear to track their health – except, instead of adding up fitness activities, it counts down to the day you die. Unlike the Fitbit, it’s a fake.
The product promotion is actually an advertisement for the Mount Pleasant Group, a Toronto-area collective of cemeteries and funeral homes.
The bait-and-switch is just the latest step in a larger shift for Mount Pleasant, which began focusing more on digital advertising campaigns nearly three years ago. Recognizing the needs of the baby boomer generation, and the declining effectiveness of direct mail and print ads, the group moved its resources to a new website and a series of video stories of people who had embraced “The Art of Saying Goodbye.” The campaign was designed for consumers who usually don’t like to think about death, to explore the subject at their own pace.
The new campaign is more jarring. In the ad, a woman in a lab coat touts “a sophisticated algorithm” that can calculate the time each user has left. In this futuristic dystopia, the wristband beeps when the end is nigh, and the user knows it’s time to make arrangements. The kicker? That the Quitbit is still in the testing phase, so it makes more sense to plan for your funeral now – with mount pleasant, of course.
“We wanted it to be different and fresh,” said Glen D’Souza, associate creative director at Union, the Toronto ad agency that created the campaign.
It’s not the first ad to try to break through the clutter with a fakeout. Commercials based on pranks have become popular in recent years among advertisers including Pepsi, Nivea and LG. This year, the Toronto Humane Society launched an ad for a service called “PuppySwap” that allowed pet owners to exchange aging pets for cuter, newer models – a fake (and horrifying) service designed to make people think about the adoption of pets as a lifelong commitment.
Part of the idea with Quitbit was to reach a slightly broader age range than Mount Pleasant’s usual ads.
“It is a bit of a departure,” said Rick Cowan, vice-president of marketing for Mount Pleasant Group. “When we apply humour in our advertising, we always have to be mindful – just given the subject matter that we deal with – of not crossing a line and being perceived as offensive. Everyone has a different meter as to what becomes offensive, but we’re careful not to push the limit. This is very clever.”
Posters went up in the Toronto area over the weekend and banner ads and video preroll clips began appearing online on Tuesday. Those ads all appear to promote the fake product, with links to a website that reveals the true message.
What about those who find the idea of a personal doomsday clock a little bit creepy?
“Death in general has never been an easy topic; it’s always been sensitive,” Mr. D’Souza said. “We were trying to ride a fine line, be as respectful as possible. We wanted people to have a really good think.”
Image by FastCo