Will a machine steal your advertising job in a near future? We made an artificially intelligent poster to find out.
We created the world’s first ever Artificially Intelligent poster that generates unique adverts based on how people react to it. We used a Microsoft Kinect built into the ad to detect whether people were viewing it.
We then invented a fake brand to advertise; the blandest we could think of so it would’t have too much influence, an instant coffee called Bahio. The footer featuring the Bahio logo is always the same in each ad, but everything else can change.
The AI poster uses a genetic algorithm to evolve adverts that make people want to look at them. Each advert is made up of multiple features: copy, layout, font and image, which are represented by numbers or genes. The ads that are best at getting people to look at them are more likely to reproduce with each other, thus creating a new generation of ads with better performing genes, i.e. features. A small amount of those genes will mutate at random, meaning the next generation has a chance to improve and so on.
Over a 4 week period we showed 12,408 ads made up of 564 generations with over 34,500 people interacting with the ads. Over time the ad learned to optimise itself, focussing in on certain images it found to be successful, leaning towards capital letters and a few preferred fonts, and certain copy that it liked.
It was interesting to see how it adapted to the changing environment. Generally it preferred copy that was 5 words long, but it changed this to 6 words when road works appeared in front of it, changing back again to 5 when they had gone.
Ultimately this was an experiment, but we still wanted media attention to see how people would react. In this respect it was very successful reaching an estimated 95million people through the media worldwide. It was generally positive, but even the negative feedback was very interesting to us because it opens up a debate about AI, automation and privacy. Something that, as an industry, we need to get right.
The AI Poster was critiqued and discussed across a vast array of industry publications and social platforms, generating much conversation. You can read more about this and see some of the example Bahio coffee ads here.
Here's links to some of the articles:
The Guardian, Campaign, The Drum, Fast Co Create & Creativity Online
This idea was awarded Official Honoree for the Webby Awards 2016