Did Robots Really Write Kayak’s Latest Ad Campaign?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Patrick Coffee’s Wall Street Journal piece headlined “Robots Turn Creative as AI Helps Drive Ad Campaigns,” when I came across this passage.

Kayak worked with New York advertising agency Supernatural Development LLC, whose internal AI platform combines marketers’ answers to questions about their business with consumer data drawn from social media and market research to suggest campaign strategies, then automatically generates ideas for advertising copy and other marketing materials.

Supernatural’s AI found that Kayak should target its campaign largely toward young, upper-income men, who it said would respond to humor about Americans’ inability to agree on basic facts in politics and pop culture, said Michael Barrett, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Supernatural.

Tell the truth, Doc – are robots going to take over the world?

– Robby

Dear Robby,

The Doc doesn’t know from robots taking over the world, but they sure might take over advertising if the Kayak spots are any indication.

As the Journal piece noted, “[most] travel ads focused on ‘the family reunion space, soft piano music, the get-together on the beach,’ said Matthew Clarke, vice president of North American marketing for the Booking Holdings Inc. company. Kayak took a different approach with the ‘Kayak Deniers’ campaign, which went live in January and poked fun at the rise of online conspiracy theories.”

To wit:

Beyond that, there’s this totally depressing news from marketing technology website MarTechSeries.

Waymark, a pioneer in using artificial intelligence to scale up video production, has launched a revolutionary AI-powered tool that allows users to create ads in minutes with no creative expertise required. Waymark AI Video Creator empowers local media companies to instantly create high-quality ads and get them to air quickly, shortening sales cycles and creating new opportunities for growth with local businesses.

So that’s umpteen ad guys and gals soon to be pounding the pavement.

Then there’s Patrick Kulp’s piece in Adweek documenting Heinz-sight in ketchup advertising.

Heinz Taps State-of-the-Art AI to Design Its Next Ad Campaign

Heinz tapped an artificial intelligence-powered art generator to create a clever demonstration of the ubiquity of its brand in the condiment aisle.

The company’s marketing team fed a series of generic ketchup-related prompts into research group OpenAI’s state-of-the-art machine learning algorithm, Dall-E 2, which conjures up eerily detailed images from simple text inputs.

The results are all over the place—from a Tron-like neon-shaded bottle to a cute container in the shape of a dog—but the one commonality is that most seemed to have adopted the trademark fringe, shape and lettering of a Heinz label.

The Doc’s diagnosis? It’s time for copywriters and art directors to catch up. How they do that, though, might take some machine learning.

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