The movie “Her” (2013) is about a lonely man named Theodore played by Joaquin Phoenix. Theodore lives by himself, he works as a writer, and more importantly he is about to get a divorce from his estranged wife Catherine, played by Rooney Mara. Everything looks down for Theodore, and just when the audience feels sympathy for the lonely guy, he decides to do something about his loneliness. He purchases an artificially intelligent operating system called “OS1” that is able to communicate with him whenever he pleases. The operating system turns into a voice of a woman who is named Samantha whose voice is by Scarlett Johansen. Samantha works as any other computer program except Samantha talks back to Theodore. He mainly needs Samantha to organize his emails, work files, etc. But when Samantha starts becoming more than a “personal secretary” things start becoming unconventional.
Throughout the film, Theodore and Samantha begin falling in love with each other. They begin telling each other their secrets, their joys, their pain, and they get so close to one another they even make each other orgasm. It is interesting that there is so much drama and comedy as they explore the complexities of love. But, what is even more interesting is how the concept of brand loyalty is explored in this film. Brand loyalty has to do with the tendency to consume a particular brand of a product. It is one matter if a consumer purchases a product or service to make themselves feel a certain way. But, it is another matter when a consumer purchases a good or service and they literally fall in love with it.
Essentially, OS1 created a consumer experience with Theodore by making him fall in love with Samantha. He loved everything about her because she was designed to meet his every need. Even though Samantha did not have a human body and she existed in a computer, Theodore still had strong feelings toward her. Towards the end of the movie (spoiler alert) he finds himself unable to let go of his love for Samantha.
This makes me wonder about the loyalty we give to our brands. Are we so lonely that we feel as if we need certain brands to make us feel a little less lonely? Do we feel like we need to consume products and services in order to feel as if we are loved? Those are scary questions to answer, especially since many of us are brand loyalists growing up in a capitalistic environment.
We live in a time where technology is carried with us like it is biologically a part of us. Additionally, we have our loyalty to certain brands and we commit to those that we love. But what will happen in the future if we begin falling in love with certain brands like Theodore? Will we end up with joy because our brands fit our every need? Or will we be filled with hurt when we feel our brands don’t love us as much as we love them?