Innovation of the Day: The Perfect Candidate

Virtual candidate brings Australians’ views to life

The Australian Futures Project created The Perfect Candidate: a virtual politician whose views exactly represent the issues Australians care the most about at a local level. The initiative was built around the perspectives of 125,000 Australians, who research firm Roy Morgan questioned on their top three issues of concern over the course of 30 months. On its website, The Perfect Candidate’s views are compared to what the political parties in Australia actually prioritize. Citizens can quickly see to what degree the real politicians are aligned. Visitors can filter The Perfect Candidate’s data by age, gender, state and region. The project’s goal is to boost transparency between political groups and their constituents, give Australians insights on their fellow citizens, and increase the focus on long-term solutions.

One key driver of The Perfect Candidate? Only 42% of Australians trust the government (see the Edelman Trust Barometer). We’ve also unpacked two additional insights into this project:

💡Breaking it down. Also according to our trusty Edelman Trust Barometer, 73% of people globally worry about fake news. Meaning, of course, that it’s hard for people to speak out as one on an issue when the underlying facts seem questionable. So how can you spark tangible change around a topic your brand cares about? First, give people the basic tools via which to have those conversations. Lay out trustworthy, reliable data in an easy-to-explore, easy-to-share format, as both the Australian Futures Projects did here and MTV Brazil did with its Mr. Congressman avatar last June. If your customers are rattled by misinformation, how can you make the truth more digestible?

💡The impossibly perfect, IRL. The Perfect Candidate also reflects a trend of brands choosing to integrate virtual personalities into real life instead of, well, real ones. Avatar influencer Lil Miquela, for example, just hosted video interviews with performers at Coachella. These two figures prompt a powerful question: what does it mean when virtual characters are more agreeable, charismatic, likable or just than an actual human being? Remember, mythical and historical figures have always been used to inspire ethical behavior and teach lessons to the living. How might you give life to your customers’ ultimate values?

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