We Created A Fake Delivery Company

/imagine one day randomly finding yourself in a foreign country thousands of kilometres away from home. Your own country is suddenly at war, and all you have is a backpack hanging off your back.

That’s a weird situation to be in. But you have to figure something out.
So starting a fake delivery company sounds like the most reasonable solution.

My partner Oksana and I love London, but it’s a bit tough here. Our small outsourcing business allowed for a comfortable life in Ukraine, albeit not so much in the UK.
Especially after the recent gamedev industry crisis (our founding niche).
Especially after the damn orcs invasion (not our niche at all).

We needed a job, a contract, a windfall!
We wanted to get back on our feet. We wanted more. We wanted to get swept off our feet and make a leap. A quantum leap. The kind of leap Richard Feynman would appreciatively nod at from his grave.

Upon being inspired by all the power of London and misery of us, we thought, what if we show what we can do for the most influential people of London by doing what we love most — creative problem-solving.
Maybe they'd like to work with us?
So, we went on a research spree to find humans with whom we’d really love working together. The final list ended up being a kombucha of industries: from the top investment fund and private jet broker, to the leading fashion brand and largest gaming, media, consulting and creative agency firms.

How to get in touch with someone whom is difficult to touch

We reckoned these humans must be getting lots of Jehovah's Witnesses knocking at their front doors though, so we’d better check from the back door. What if it's unlocked, they are waiting for the pizza guy and there is actually a party and free drinks?

Designing a fake delivery company seemed to be the most logical, straightforward way of contacting a person. Hence, ''Future Delivers'' was born. The company's concept is that it delivers parcels from the future. This allows your future self in the year 2064 to send a parcel to your past self in the year 2024, filled with good advice, artefacts from the future, and warnings to hopefully improve your life ahead. [[1]]

[[1]]: like to buy more Bitcoin, ALWAYS say hello, good afternoon and good evening to every AI chatbot interaction EVER please I dare you, and drink more water.

Obviously, every well-respected company must have a brand and a website: ​​

And all the other totally legit and absolutely not made up brand collaterals showing we're doing serious business here: delivery release documents, uniforms, wax seal, stickers, branded boxes, custom email address with delivery update notifications, blog, brand ambassador and of course, a delivery robot dog off AliExpress. We're coming from the future, after all.


Que Sera

For our recipients, it all started with dead people.
We figured it would be cool to haunt our beneficiaries with mysterious messages online hinting on the delivery prior to the delivery to build anticipation, intrigue and brand awareness.

The problem is: how can you target only one person with paid ads? Technically, you can probably select area ''London'' and maybe a few other parameters related to their industry and devices, but it's still millions, or at best, tens of thousands of people.
That sounds expensive. And chances of our person seeing the ad are quite low.
So we needed to find a way to:

1) make sure our person will see the ad;
2) achieve this on a brokies budget.

I've tried all kinds of tricks, but the resulting sampling was either too narrow for ad platforms to let me run the ad or it was too large for our budget to even try — like the ''custom audiences'' thing on Linkedin that required a list of at least 300 users.
Our chances didn't look bright until I remembered seeing a study that around 30 million accounts on Facebook today are accounts of the deceased people. And that by 2070, the number of dead users on Facebook could exceed the number of living users.

It hit me. What if we use the ''custom audiences'' thingy, but just populate it with 299 deceased people and 1 person whom we really need to show this ad to?
My assumption was that most likely dead people don't really use Linkedin that much anymore, so the ad will be exclusively shown to whom we need it to be shown to.
So after some morbid obituaries Googling...We had our list of 299 people who quit Linkedin for good!

Seeing ''like'' from David, our first recipient, felt like the President of America (Obama) just shook my hand.

Unfortunately, we abandoned this approach for all the next deliveries as we were quickly running out of money anyway. But what a funny example of how sometimes even dead people could be more helpful than some living ones among us.

To keep the intrigue going, we resorted to just sending cryptic emails to everyone a couple of days before the delivery:


No one reads the legal boilerplate fine print in email signatures anyway.

Then, the delivery.


Love how this gentleman followed us all the way to the inside of the building. Also, his style is 🔥

We custom painted boxes with a liquid metal marker, solid gold hands of Oksana and a pen-plotter robot that we assembled in our living room.


Upon opening the box, a host greets our person, [[2]] telling them that they got the parcel from the future-self with some good news and advice.

[[2]]: We've set up a simple closed-circuit magnetic mechanism: when the magnet on top of the box cover is covering the screen — it's switched off. But the moment the magnetic connection breaks (when someone opens the box) — it activates the screen.


I really wanted the box to have ''Back to the Future'' vibes, so experimented with assembling a hidden miniature smoke machine with some LED lights that can be triggered upon box opening:

But this didn't get approved by the Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation department (Oksana). A black box delivered from randoms with smoke coming out of it. Nope. [[3]]

[[3]]: We did get a chance to use it for one of our meetings later, yay!

In that box, each person finds another box (I really wanted to use some funny recursion joke here, but GPT keeps saying that this example is not a recursion, but nesting and I feel very mad), with a bunch of pictures from their future.
They are enclosed in a Future Delivers branded, wax-sealed holographic envelope:


Some of the AI-generated pictures that we made

Then, our recipient takes out the antique box, opens it and finds a tablet inside.

Upon unlocking it, they are faced with a video of themselves in the future talking to themselves in ''now''.
This involved months of us frustratingly tinkering with Artifical Intelligence tech and inventing lots of bicycles to establish our workflow.
In a nutshell, we cloned their voice and appearance and made a movie-like trailer with a message.

Here is a video that we made for Steve Varsano:

If you've been recently playing with the idea of purchasing a private jet, consider his company.
They are good.

Once the video finishes, they see a request to touch the kitten:

So they touch the kitten and this is the video that is being played to them:

Afterwards, they can reply with either text, audio or video.

And if we see in a video views analytics that our person isn't opening the box after a while, we're panicking a bit and sending a courier email update:


And then, then we anxiously wait.


Some replies starting to arrive

Most expect it to be the end of the experience once the reply is sent, but that's a trap.
Instead, they get redirected to a credits page, where we created several custom OST credits tracks personalised to their tastes (hopefully).

Data so far

As of 10:12 am, June 30, 2024.

Recipient Reaction
LVP fund Responded
Gentle Monster Responded
EY Responded
Saatchi & Saatchi Responded
Havas Responded
The Jet Business Responded
Netflix Responded
Wildbrain Responded
Playstation Responded
Conde Nast Responded. A small caveat though, that was a cease and desist letter from their lawyers ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
BBC Ignored (probably thought that was a bomb)
Dazed media Ignored
WPP Ignored

To add this post extra sophistication, I've asked ChatGPT to generate fancy charts based off this data. [[4]]

[[4]]: If you prefer it raw, here it is:
Deliveries made in total: 13 (100%);
Response rate: 10/13 (76.92%);
Positive response/initial interest ratio: 8/13 (61.54%);
Conversion so far: 1 (7.69%);
Still talking/potential of something happening later: 4;
Estimated total conversion potential: up to 38.46%;
Threats: 1 so far.

Interactive Performance Metrics Charts

Then, I've compared the dates on which we made the deliveries to the relative volume of Google searches for ''private investigator services'' during the same period and discovered a clear correlation. Please help.

What do you mean correlation does not imply causation?

Instead of an epilogue

It’s funny how what we think of what the title for this story gonna be changes all the time. All the way since September 2023, when we just got this idea, and up until now, Summer 2024 when we’ve made a couple deliveries, we changed the title in our heads a lot.

It went from ‘’How we raised a million dollars by being creepy’’ to ‘’How we didn’t raise a million dollars by being creepy’’, and then the concept accelerated all the way to ‘’How we got in prison. Tips and Tricks’’ (Hello, Conde Nast!)...

But these days... All we know is that we have the key in our hand, now all we have to find is the lock. Today is the final day of our official 2-months contract with Saatchi & Saatchi thanks to Future Delivers and we have no clue where all of this is taking us next.

Sometimes in life, you think you’re driving, but you’re just being chauffeured.
This taxi is taking a while to arrive at that damn airport and takes weird turns. Where can I get the manager’s number?

[[5]]: If this graphomaniac outburst gets some interest, I’d love to prepare a sequel to what happened next.
And maybe... unveil the mystery of why, for some deliveries, you see me listed as ''Serge'' and for others as ''Serhii''.
As well as technical post on how we made everything and what challenges we encountered.

You can subscribe to be notified via email when that happens.
In the meantime, any feedback/advice/thoughts in return are highly welcome.
I'd really appreciate that.