I’ve written a few times about the increasing capacity for AI to do creative things, whether it’s telling jokes or composing music, with this capability deployed by the Japanese company McCann in their marketing team. They are using AI to mine a large database of previous creative projects to suggest possibly new creative directions for an advert.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, IBM’s Watson is also getting in on the act. They are working with their The Weather Company subdivision on the rollout of Watson Ads, which will allow users to have free-form conversations with Watson.
Whilst the product is being developed by The Weather Company, the aim for Watson Ads is to be a much more widespread than simply a weather-related service. Despite the tremendous range of possible use cases for Watson, the first forays have been in retail, with partnerships emerging with companies like Macy’s, North Face, and Under Armour.
Both the North Face and Macy’s work involves using Watson as a shopping assistant, and it’s very much in this vein that Watson Ads is working. It intends to allow shoppers to talk with it in much the same way as they would with Siri.
The aim is to allow marketers to develop opportunities for one-to-one communication with consumers in a way that is scalable yet personal. IBM believe that their powerful engine will help the customer experience, whilst empowering marketers to make better use of data.
“The dawn of cognitive advertising is truly a watershed moment. Now as part of IBM, we have even more tools and technologies at our disposal to inspire innovations within advertising, artificial intelligence and storytelling,” they say. “This is a huge opportunity to expose consumers to all of the surprising and delightful experiences that Watson has in store for them – and to make advertising a truly valuable interaction for both our fans and our marketing partners, which is always our goal.”
Given the tremendous potential for services like that offered by Watson, it remains somewhat disappointing that it’s being used in such ‘frivolous’ ways, but hopefully from these early forays into the market, they will develop more epoch changing applications in time.