I awoke this morning to the news that the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation has produced an advert posthumously featuring the stand up comedian/entertainer, Bob Monkhouse (you can see it for yourselves by following this link).
Of course this sort of thing has technically been done before in various forms (JFK in Forrest Gump, Marlon Brando in Superman Returns, Gene Kelly in a VW Golf ad), however to my knowledge this is the first time we have had a dead person break the fourth wall... and this is what makes it strange.
Seeing a person interacting in a sketch is easy because we are suspending our disbelief anyway... but when someone addresses the camera, they make a direct connection with the audience. It is strange having a dead person speaking directly to you as you chew your Weetabix. The advert was made with the blessing of his widow Jackie, and I'm happy to give it a plug as at the end of the day... whatever reasons people watch it, it'll raise awareness of a form of cancer which is relatively swept under the carpet... and yet is clearly just as deadly if left untreated.
I can see where this technology is going to lead though. sooner or later people if they have enough money, as they grow older (and especially if they are withered by illness); are going to want to leave personal messages to their friends to be played after their demise. Now of course nobody wants to be remembered as a worn out shell (and why should they?), so they will want to use the digital technology to have a younger version of themselves deliver the message to their loved ones.
I expect we will be seeing a lot more of this thing in the future... is it romantic... or tacky? I suppose it depends on who and how many people do it.