Although computers may not phase out creative experts anytime soon, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be powerful storytelling tools.
This attribute was proven recently by the latest ad from Lexus, which the company is terming as the first AI-scripted commercial in the advertising industry.
The 60-second ad was directed by Kevin Macdonald, an Oscar Award-winning filmmaker, who is best known for films like the Last King of Scotland.
The commercial aimed to showcase the new ES executive Sedan from Lexus.
To make the advert for the Lexus ES executive sedan, which is expected to be rolled out in Europe, Lexus sought the assistance of several London agencies including The & Partnership, Visual Voice and Unruly.
All these agencies partnered with the acclaimed IBM Watson team to utilize artificial intelligence in analyzing 15 years’ worth of audio, text, and footage for luxury and car brand campaigns that have scooped creativity awards at the Cannes Lions.
According to IBM, Watson identified the common elements to award-worthy adverts that were “both emotionally intelligent and entertaining.”
However, the machine did not do all the work: the AI engine created the script outline and flow, which allowed the creative agencies to come up with the story.
The 60-second commercial dubbed Driven by Intuition narrates the story of the company’s Takumi master craftsman who unveils the new ES sedan to the world, only for the car to not only be taken away but also threatened with destruction.
However, the vehicle’s automatic emergency brakes come to the rescue in what seems to be a plot twist by Watson intended to show the effectiveness and value of the car’s in-built technology.
“When I was handed the script, the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential,” Macdonald claimed in a statement.
“The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation and then had it escaping into the sunset, was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform,” added the director, whose credits include “The Last King of Scotland,” Whitney Houston biopic “Whitney” and Oscar-winning documentary film “One Day in September.”
Dave Bedwood, The & Partnership’s creative partner, added: “I thought I’d be writing an ad with the assistance of AI. Instead, it took over and wrote the whole script: a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life.”
The Driven By Intuition campaign was launched on Monday, November 19, 2018, with the commercial being released across various cinema, social and digital channels all over Europe.
Currently, the ad will not run on TV. However, Lexus is expected to release the behind-the-scenes footage of how the ad was made.
Ultimately, “the magic of storytelling will always come to life in the human creative process,” commented Reece Medway, entertainment and media expert for IBM Watson in Ireland and the U.K. “Using Watson to identify the common attributes for truly award-winning creative work is an example of how man and machine will collaborate in the AI era.”