David Blecken
Jun 7, 2016

AI ‘creative director’ produces first ad, battles human for supremacy

A competition in Japan invites members of the public to decide whose work they prefer: that of a well-known writer or an artificial intelligence program.

AI ‘creative director’ produces first ad, battles human for supremacy

TOKYO – McCann Erickson Japan’s ‘Artificial Intelligence Creative Director’ (AI-CD) is apparently more than just a pretty face. Having debuted at the agency alongside new graduates in April, it has developed its first piece of work—for Clorets.

The 30-second ad aims to position the Clorets Mint Tab (‘Clo-Tab’ in Japanese) as a product that offers immediate refreshment that lasts 10 minutes.

Normally, this is where we would introduce the ad. But we don’t know which ad the AI-CD actually created. With echoes of Google’s recent challenge to a Korean Go master, the machine is competing with Mitsuru Kuramoto, an acclaimed TV writer. Kuramoto also created an ad for Clo-Tab. It’s now up to the public to decide which one they prefer.

The AI-CD is programmed to respond to briefs, and suggests creative direction by drawing on a mass of data from past advertising campaigns to determine the factors that make an ad successful. In this case, the brief was to convey a sense of nature, refreshment and liberation in an urban setting.

In one spot, a woman is seen experiencing that sense of liberation as she performs calligraphy. In the other, a dog in a suit soars above the oppressiveness of a city. No offence to man or machine, but we don’t think either is going to trouble jurors at Cannes any time soon. It’s undeniably an intriguing exercise though, and for pure entertainment value, we prefer the dog. We will leave it to you to decide who created what.

In a statement, Shun Matsuzaka, a creative planner who led the AI-CD’s development, said the AI-CD is itself liberated from bias or habitual thinking. “This allows it to come up with creative direction that humans would never think of,” he said.

Viewers are invited to visit the Clorets ‘Sukkiri’ Research Institute online to cast their votes as to which spot conveyed the message most effectively. Voting is open until 28 August.

 

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