Sometimes, when you are so very, very rich, it's difficult to have normal human emotions like wanting to buy a $250,000 car. Thankfully, Bentley has come up with a solution for dead-inside one percenters: an iOS-only facial recognition app that reads customers' emotions to work out which Bentley Bentayga SUV is best for them.
the app shows you videos and reads your reactions
The Inspirator app scans your face and then shows you a series of "lifestyle-themed visual stimuli" while measuring your reactions. The videos look like outtakes from a high-end perfume commercial, with clips of people diving into pools, getting fitted for suits, and being served Michelin-starred food, etc. All of the time the app is watching your face to see which "vision of extraordinary" you react best to. Will it be "expressive and expansive," asks a stubbly-yet-smart male model, or "timelessly defined"? At the end, you're presented with your custom Bentayga — the wheels, paint, and fabric all paired to your emotions.
Shortly after being registered for "aversion" I was asked to politely leave the app for causing a scene.
It's such high-level bullshit that it's almost enjoyable. Like a tarot card reading for billionaires who can't decide whether a chestnut or walnut veneer best fits their monstrous sense of self-importance. During my time with the app, I tried pulling faces, openly laughing, hooting, and growling at the camera — all of which the app duly registered — before being told that because my "senses were awakened by the unmatched thrill and pure beauty of riding the perfect wave" (there was a surfing bit in the video), what I really needed for my car seats was a "linen and Brunel split." Of course! My emotional tumult was finally over!
Anyway, according to AdWeek the Inspirator app will be updated to match customers with others cars in the future (right now it just does the Bentayga), and it's interesting to think that this is the sort of "luxury commissioning experience" that Bentley-buyers are used to. There are still teething problems though. One reviewer on iTunes lamented that while the app had "got the paint and wheels right" it wasn't so hot on the interior, foolishly recommending lighter shades. "Tan leather?" wrote the anonymous user. "Never again. My 750 had tan and it got so dirty." Tut tut, if only you could flog an app.