“Echo Spheres”— Mirage en Masse

PLUS: Retail Media Eats the Snacks
May 15, 2024

Echo Spheres: Mirage en Masse?

If ever there were a signal that our current trajectory ends with niche hyperpersonalization, everywhere, all the time—it took place this week at Google I/O. The event kicked off with a bang when YouTuber Mark Rebillet took the stage.

Marc Rebillet's music style is a unique blend of electronic music, comedy, and improvisation—something that should feel at home at a Google keynote. But the bizarre nature of his energetic performance shocked some viewers, who called it ‘peak AI hype cringe’.

Given 2023’s I/O event opened with a duck twerking to an AI-generated song, this was a marked improvement.

Rebillet’s career is a testament to the power of the algorithm, in that it can give small, niche interest a widespread cultural projection.

I use that word intentionally because the size and scale of a creator are an illusion to the user. These “Echo Spheres” are personal bubbles that shape our cognitive biases through personalized content ecospheres (see what I did there?) 

Somewhere within the Google organization is an executive who believes their highly individualized content is common and widely accepted; the result is cultural whiplash for those unacquainted.

Trendlines appeared again in this week’s news: brands are becoming more faceted, more complex. They’re taking on multitudinous voices, honed to speak to a cultish singular audience. Whether that’s Gap x Dôen or Walmart’s ‘sensory hours’—universal experiences are becoming evermore tailored, evermore targeted

Author Kyle Chayka will deliver a keynote next month at our VISIONS Summit, speaking about the algorithm's homogenizing effect, shaping culture to be ‘flat.’ The antics at Google I/O foretell a more chilling future where personal bubbles, shaped by our individual tastes, create the illusion of widespread consensus…

A world full of echo spheres.


P.S. Do Marketers need Metaphysics? What are the common traits of deep generalist marketers? Intuition, observation, and pragmatism. Our newest series unlocks these insights and more. Grab our new twenty-page guide to multidisciplinary mastery.

P.P.S. Watch the Marc Rebillet performance at Google I/O 2024.

Image Credit: Kellanova

Sight & Sound. Squarespace Goes Private in a $6.9B all-cash deal. Mondelez plans to allocate 20% of its US advertising budget to retail media networks. Walmart's ‘Sensory Hours’ program makes the rounds on social media after 2023 rollout. Shopify “acqui-hires” Peel Insights team three years after $5.2M seed round.

Touch. The Gap glowup continues as Gap x Dôen launches in limited edition. Code-generation tech and advanced AI image models rapidly shape UI/UX design.

The Palate. “Doughlene?” Dolly Parton's Doughnuts hit Krispy Kreme. Eggo's Sneaker Launch waffles into fashion. MrBeast Burger is apparently still alive?

Are Human’s Brains Quantum? New research supports the controversial theory that the human brain might utilize quantum effects, shaking our understanding of consciousness and cognition. Discover more about the study.

Our Take: The very notion that a singular marketing message can have multitudinous simultaneous meanings is, itself, quantum in nature. Superpositions of meaning are hidden in the work of the marketer. In 2022, Future Commerce’s own Brian Lange sent a message from the past to say “I told you so.”

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