Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Guan Hin Tay

Can machines be creative? Will artificial intelligence one day take over the need for human creativity? If creativity is defined as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something,” can AI gather data about human creativity to piece it all together and create content that appeals to us?

We’ve already seen fantastic examples of AI-driven creativity.

JWT Amsterdam conceived “The Next Rembrandt,” a 3D-printed painting created in collaboration with ING, Microsoft, TU Delft, the Mauritshuis and the Rembrandt House Museum.


After an 18-month analysis from data derived from 346 known Rembrandt paintings, “The Next Rembrandt” was born. A facial-recognition algorithm learned Rembrandt’s techniques; pixel data helped the computer mimic brushstrokes, and an advanced 3D printer brought the painting to life.

And then, in Japan, McCann created an AI Creative Director, by assembling a database of deconstructed ads from some of Japan’s biggest award shows from the past ten years.


There was a contest against a human creative director, even though his ad narrowly won 54% of the public vote, the 200 advertising executives at the ISBA Conference voted for commercial done by the robot.

I am sure there will be more AI-driven creativity in the future, thankfully many still involve vital human support.

Below are two AI-inspired campaigns taking two different approaches, one funny and the other serious, both of which make for interesting conversation.

Two AI Ads I Like

Burger King’s AI Campaign

Burger King recently launched a new advertising campaign created by artificial intelligence. Called Project: AOR, from a traditional agency of record to an “agency of robots.” It trained an artificial neural network to analyze thousands of fast-food commercials and industry research to create hundreds of unique ads.

It starts with a dial-up modem noise and a super: “This ad was created by artificial intelligence.” Then, footage of customers enjoying burgers and fries, accompanied by a robotic AI that sounds like Apple’s Siri – purely lacking in emotion.

Of course, this is another funny prank but an important reminder to us all. Only humans and not machines can create content for human consumption. “Artificial intelligence is not a substitute for a great creative idea coming from a real person,” said Burger King’s global head of brand marketing, Marcelo Pascoa.

Love all the 5 tongue-in-cheek videos and the humans who created them, hopefully; no machine can match up to human creativity until…..perhaps now.

Which brings me to something else that I like.

Lexus – Driven by Intuition

Lexus professed to be the world’s first commercial entirely scripted by AI, directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald. It’s a story of a Takumi master craftsman who gives birth to his “baby,” the new Lexus ES, into the world.

Suddenly, it was mysteriously captured, with no explanation. And threatened to be destroyed. The Takumi master and her daughter witness a live telecast of his baby’s imminent danger. Towards the end, Lexus’s automatic emergency braking system activates to stop the destruction, showing the effectiveness of Lexus’s intuitive technology.

This brings to mind my favorite childhood show ‘Knight Rider”, an American tv series about a modern-day crime fighter, who drove a technologically advanced, artificially intelligent black Pontiac Firebird. While we enjoyed the cheesy storylines of old, the future we live in seems to bring man and machine closer together.

Actually, the “making of” video was far more interesting as a content piece than the final commercial. To create the concept, Lexus worked with Visual Voice who used IBM Watson, to analysis 15 years’ worth of award-winning luxury and car commercials with the help of emotional intelligence data provided by a company specializing in the development of ad campaigns built upon moving data.

After all the months or research and study, the flow of the story felt illogical; however, the final execution was remarkably quite passionate.

Perhaps the director tried to capture the loving relationship between a father and his “son” using appropriate music and the way the story unfolded was so unexpected; nevertheless, it got the global attention needed to uplift the Lexus car built for the future.

What I Don’t Like

It’s ironic that most of the human-created ads these days lack empathy. Human ads I hate are those that don’t show any authenticity or reliability. They visualize predictable scenarios, thinking their consumer will connect.

Want to attract families for holidays? Show happy families enjoying theme parks or father fishing with loved ones. Want to attract Millennials to use mobile plans? Show young teens texting each other. Sell life insurance? Show happily retired grandma playing with their grandsons.

Promotion ads are opportunities for brands to build relationships. Brands can harness big data to find the right target in the right location at the right time, but if they don’t have the right message, I don’t think it will ever reach consumer’s hearts.

This originally ran in December 2018 – we liked it so much we’re running it again.

Guan Hin Tay

Guan Hin Tay

Guan Hin Tay is the Chief Creative Officer at BBDO Singapore

Read More

subscribe & get more brand in your diet


get more brand in your diet

We never share your info,
we only share ours