Ad Agencies Reveal World’s First Artificially Intelligent Poster Campaign

A partnership of M&C Saatchi, Clear Channel and Posterscope, have revealed what they claim is the world’s first ever artificially intelligent poster campaign.

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Photograph: M&C Saatchi/PR

The poster, which advertises a fictional coffee brand called Bahio, is able to react and learn from its audience, and adapt its copy and imaging accordingly.

Here’s how it works: –

  • The poster features a Darwinian algorithm, which will evolve over time to find the optimum copy and imaging.
  • Each ‘generation’ of the poster creates 22 ad variations.
  • The poster assesses the reaction to each of the variations (by observing passers by with a Kinect) to find the most successfull.
  • The most successful ads move onto the next ‘gene pool’ and become part of the next generation, while unsucessful ads are discarded.

As of 20th July, 1540 ads have been generated over a total of 70 generations, with initial results showing that shorter copy is most popular, and heart images occurring frequently.

While the poster is able to take users reactions into account, its primary concern (for the moment) is to observe whether people are looking at it, and how long for.

Photograph: M&C Saatchi/PR

Photograph: M&C Saatchi/PR

David Cox, chief innovation of M&C Saatchi told The Guardian “It cares whether you’re looking at it. It won’t do anything different while you’re there. Live interaction and facial recognition could possibly be the next step, but we’ve kept this incarnation toned down and simple.”

So far, the poster has tracked over 42,000 reactions, and if the trial is successful, then it may trigger a move from the industry to use AI to create adaptive advertising, tailored to individual consumers.

However, according to Cox, we’re not quite there yet: “It’s not writing the best ad in the world. There’s a lot of weird copy, but in 10 years, who knows?.”

So, we’re not quite at the Minority Report stage yet, but watch this space.

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