Havas Media retracts claim about machine that ‘turns hashtags into electricity’, error due to internal communications breakdown

A media agency that announced earlier this week that it had launched a machine that turns tweets into electricity has retracted the claim, admitting that the technology is not capable of generating power.

Havas Media sent out a press release on 18 March that stated it had invested in “a machine that turns a set of identified hashtags into generated electricity”.

The machine, known as ‘Heartbot’, can power equipment such as light bulbs and heat generating billboards, the agency claimed in the release.

The Heartbot was said to work by detecting a programmed set of tweets, then produce electricity depending on the number of tweets generated. The technology could be used in relief efforts and tourism promotions, the agency said.

However, today Havas Media moved to change its original story, admitting that the Heartbot could not actually generate power – it can only turn on electronic equipment like a switch.

In a new press release, Havas Media describes the Heartbot as “a hardware and software platform that uses social media behavior as electronic triggers.”

The launch was part of Havas Media’s push to position itself as an agency that creates ‘meaningful connections’.

Tony Sarmiento, the Philippines-based regional creative integrator at Havas Media said of the gadget in the original release: “It’s bringing together the two coolest things in the world – innovation and meaning.”

“We are ready to create customized versions of the Heartbot. This is just the beginning, we see Heartbot powering different machines, protocols and social engagements globally,” he said.

The agency told Mumbrella that the press release was not an intended false claim, but was worded incorrectly as a result of an internal communications breakdown between the communications and technology teams.


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