Nowadays, a big part of human interaction occurs online. We text emojis, send reaction gifs, and Snapchat our contorted faces to tell other people how we feel about, you know, stuff.
But sometimes it doesn't really cut it.
There are certain occasions in life that you just have to be there for. Birthdays, weddings, first steps, even big family celebrations deserve a proper visit followed by a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Unfortunately, that's not always possible, so skincare brand NIVEA and advertising agency Leo Burnett decided to explore the possibility of merging the virtual world and physical interactions into united experience.
For the experiment, NIVEA found a mother and a son — one based in Spain, the other in Paraguay — who were going to spend Christmas apart.
They asked them to share the story of their most important hug. It happened on Christmas when Pablo had an asthma attack and was admitted to the hospital.
"His lungs closed up and he went into a coma. I got a hold of a T-shirt they gave me and I slept with it," Laura remembers.
To make sure Pablo and Laura have more memorable hugs, NIVEA and Leo Burnett planned a "reunion" — one that was decidedly atypical.
The team worked with "nanotechnology experts" to make use of a ground-breaking fabric that supposedly simulated human skin. Essentially, according to the video, the material is woven with a number of sensors and is capable of retaining electrical impulses.
So that when one person touches it ...
... It can transmit the sensation of that touch over thousands of miles.
Sounds neat, right? But it gets better. Watch the full video to see what happens:
As the end of the video explains, "the Second Skin Project is not real, but its people and their story are."
Even if the whole nanotechnology part was a hoax, the message behind it is no less important:
"As the world becomes smaller thanks to technology and as it definitely brings people closer than ever, we wanted to express that we are also losing true human contact a bit," lead creative director Juan Garcia-Escudero explains.