Creative Dive: Lay’s Thailand Brings Back ‘Land of Smiles’ with the Help of Gen AI

The creative campaign uses GenAI and face-swap technology to instantly transform selfies into unique characters.

In 2015, Lay’s Thailand launched a campaign called ‘Lay’s Smiles’, which introduced new packaging designs featuring 27 different smiles as part of a 20th-anniversary celebration to spread joy around the Asia Pacific region.

Ten years later, Lay’s Thailand has teamed up with Publicis Groupe’s Brilliant & Million in Thailand and PXP Studios in Australia with the aim to bring back more smiles, but with a modern twist.

Using the latest GenAI and face-swap technology, Lay’s Thailand’s new ‘Land of Smiles’ campaign transforms people’s selfies into a unique character, customizable in seconds. To launch the campaign, Lay’s unveiled new packaging designs featuring scannable QR codes, leading to a Lay’s web app where users can morph into one of 200 unique and fun AI-generated smiling characters in seconds.


 

Over 480,000 smiles have been generated, with high unique visits to the ‘Land of Smiles’ web app since launching in April.

To learn more, Branding in Asia spoke with Majic Adalia, Head of Digital Marketing & E-commerce at Lay’s Thailand; Titipun Tubthong, Head of Creative at Brilliant & Million in Thailand; and Kiki Lauder, Creative Technology Director at PXP Studios in Australia, about the making of this year’s ‘Land of Smiles’ campaign.


Why did you decide to bring back ‘Land of Smiles’ after a ten-year hiatus?

Majic: Thailand has been known to be the ‘Land of Smiles’ for many years, but challenges driven by the pandemic and economic growth have affected the country recently. So, Lay’s made it its mission to ignite more joy, believing that every smile has the power to spark another.

What’s the connection between Lay’s and smiles?

Majic: Lay’s is everyone’s partner to unlock smiles. With the help of GenAI technology, every smile generated from every pack of Lay’s becomes more than just a smile – it becomes a symbol of joy – bringing back Thailand to be the Land of Smiles and spreading joy around the world once again.


 

How did you persuade Lay’s to experiment with GenAI for this project?

Titipun: Kudos to Lay’s Thailand for trusting us to experiment with Generative AI and the latest real-time face swap technology to deliver their latest campaign. After showing them our latest explorations using GenAI for everything from semi-autonomous AI production to face swap technology, they were excited to give GenAI a try.

Why did you collaborate with PXP Studios in Australia on this project?

Titipun: We knew it would be a rigorous process creating over 200 unique characters, each assessed for optimal results to guarantee a joyful, high-quality user experience, and the most important point is that we needed to ensure the ethics and rights regarding licensing matters.

“We knew it would be a rigorous process creating over 200 unique characters, each assessed for optimal results to guarantee a joyful, high-quality user experience…”

The end-to-end process, as well as material designs for the AI training dataset, should be 100% controlled by the creator team. So we reached out to our colleagues at PXP Studios to see if they could help us bring our vision to life. PXP Studios sits at the center of creativity, production, media, and data, so they have the perfect mix of creativity and technology skills for a project like this.

What was the most challenging aspect of this project?

Kiki: Land of Smiles achieves face-swapping render times of 5 seconds thanks to custom-made face-swap technology and a meticulous technical approach. We are fortunate to have an in-house AI artist, Cindy Kuoch, who understands multiple AI image manipulation techniques.

Our production team faced challenges working across agencies due to significant time differences, varied work pipelines, and differing styles. However, our project management teams managed to see the silver lining and created a bespoke pipeline that worked efficiently, even with a very tight timeline.

“Our mission is to challenge the impossible, bridge the gap between creativity and technology, and continuously elevate the technological standards at Publicis.”

Titipun: In terms of AI generation, it’s quite new to Lay’s massive consumer base. So, the biggest challenge was to make it simple on the front end, while keeping any complexity in the backend.

When we launched, we were one of the few projects of this kind that allowed everyone to generate AI themselves on a WebApp, and then customise their image with stickers and caption them to share socially later on.

We also worked with our social content team to build a variety of activities that encouraged people to engage with the WebApp for several months, not just during the launch period.

Are you looking to do more projects like this in APAC?

Kiki: At PXP Studios, we collaborate closely with our colleagues worldwide to leverage the latest advancements in AI tools, including Video AI, LLMs, Spatial XR, autonomous production, and CGI. If you have a tech-driven idea, we are here to bring it to life.

Our mission is to challenge the impossible, bridge the gap between creativity and technology, and continuously elevate the technological standards at Publicis. We look forward to collaborating with Lay’s and Brilliant & Million in Thailand again to create more “Majical” work.


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