This AI Creative Director Is Beating Its Human Counterparts
The technology created at McCann in Japan was assembled from a database of deconstructed ads from commercial award winners over the past 10 years
Creative planner Shun Matsuzaka, from McCann Erickson Japan, McCann Millennial tasked himself with the project of creating the world’s first AI creative director. Matsuzaka and his team broke down the core elements of a TV commercial and assembled a database of deconstructed ads from commercial award winners over the past 10 years that the robot used as data for the commercial it created.
To test the robot’s artistic and creative ability McCann set up a competition between the AI creative director and human creative director at McCann Japan, Mitsuru Kuramoto. Confectionery mega-brand Mondelez was willing to see the results of the competition with an ad created for their Clorets Mint Tab that needed to convey the message of “Instant-effect fresh breath that lasts for 10 minutes.”
Mondelez was asked to fill out a form with all the required information that needed to included in the advertisement. The AI robot took the information and screened its database for ideas which was later put together by humans for the final creative. The two advertisements were put to test in a nationwide poll where consumers got to choose which ad they preferred.
The first ad was created by the AI creative director which narrowly lost with 54 percent of the public vote going to Kuramoto’s ad. That said, the ads which were screened at the ISBA Conference, had different results. The 200-or-so advertising executives at the conference preferred the AI created commercial commenting on how creative and funny the material was.
It is natural to wonder how AI will be integrated into agencies and the creative process in the future. It would be a loss to leave all decisions up to AI based on databases of past work, but there might be a function for AI to contribute to the process with its unique ability to provide an objective point of view that might be missed by human creatives.
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Erica co-founded and co-leads UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, a group tasked with identifying, prototyping and scaling technologies and practices that improve UNICEF's work on the ground. Working with partners in private sector and academia, the Innovation Unit supports UNICEF’s 135+ country offices in the practical application of design and technology to strengthen international development outcomes. UNICEF Innovation has recognized success in innovative design of international development solutions. Erica was named to the TIME 100 “World’s Most Influential People” List in 2013. Other examples of this work include the Digital Drum, recognized by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 inventions of 2011, gold and silver International Design Excellence (IDSA) Awards, a Red Hat prize for being one of the three top open source projects and the award-winning RapidSMS - a system that uses basic mobile phones and SMS messages to communicate with front-line workers and improve the speed and quality of data collection and health and education services. Since 2007, UNICEF Innovation has worked with partners to develop open source technologies that have registered seven million births in Nigeria over 15 months and provided antenatal care to thousands of pregnant women across Rwanda. These systems are built on a set of principles, such as collaboration and learning from fast failures, that have informed successes such as the tracking of the distribution of more than 25 million insecticide treated mosquito nets and providing a direct feedback loop for more than 260,000 young Ugandans to engage with their government and change policy in real time. Erica worked with the Commission for Macroeconomics and Health, a joint collaboration between the World Bank and the World Health Organization, and developed and executed UNICEF global communication strategies for immunization, child survival and avian influenza and pandemic preparedness. Erica co-taught ‘Design for UNICEF’ at NYU’s ITP with Clay Shirky. She has lectured at the Yale School of Management, Harvard University, The Art Center, Stanford University School of Engineering and Columbia School of International and Public Affairs on technology, innovation, design and international development.