IBM Watson

Lexus Europe Creates World’s Most Intuitive Car Ad with IBM Watson

According to one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script, and the script.” What happens when you give an Oscar-winning director a script written entirely by artificial intelligence? The answer is the new ‘Driven by Intuition’ advertisement by Lexus.

Lexus Europe wanted an advert that reflected the intuitive and innovative new Lexus ES. To write the world’s most intuitive script, London based creative agency, The&Partnership, collaborated with technical partner, Visual Voice, leveraging AI with IBM Watson.

Lexus, The&Partnership and Visual Voice are among the early movers harnessing the power of Watson AI and analytics to springboard the creative process. The magic of storytelling will always come to life in the human creative process and this collaboration is an ideal example of how man and machine will collaborate in the AI era.

The script, written with the help of AI, was bought to life by Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald, whose credits include ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ the Whitney Houston biopic ‘Whitney,’ and the Oscar-winning documentary ‘One Day in September.’

“When I was handed the script, the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential,” Macdonald said. “The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform. The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge.”

The&Partnership and Visual Voice collaborated with Watson to analyze 15 years of award winning footage, text and audio for car and luxury brand campaigns that have won the prestigious Cannes Lions international award for creativity, as well as a range of other external data.  Watson was able to identity the elements that are common to award-worthy content that are both emotionally intelligent and entertaining.  The AI informed the script flow and outline from which the creative agencies built the story.  At the product level the Watson technology leveraged a combination of Watson Visual Recognition, Watson Tone Analyzer, Watson Text to Speech and Watson Personality Insights.

In using so much information about previous adverts, it was important to avoid the risk of producing something that felt familiar, or too mass-market in tone. To keep the script original and on-brand additional data on the Lexus brand and the project guideline was then inputted into the AI.

To focus closely on the “intuitive” aspect of the story, the creative team gathered additional intelligence by conducting an academic study into human intuition. Through MindX, the applied science division of the University of New South Wales in Australia, the team worked to understand what makes someone intuitive and how people who have a high level of intuition respond to car adverts.

The advert reflects a movement towards greater use of AI in the creative industries. Already AI has helped write pop ballads, create a movie trailer, mimic the styles of great painters, and now it is informing creative decisions in film-making.

The trend raises the question of whether AI will replace human creativity. IBM maintains the goal of AI is not to recreate the human mind but to inspire creativity and free up time to spend thinking about the creative process.

With AI positively disrupting one of the world’s most creative industries, it is an exciting time for Lexus to bring man and machine together and test the boundaries of how humans and machines can work together in perfect harmony.

This story first appeared on the IBM THINK Blog.