Commentary

What Every CMO Can Learn From Burger King's Campaign

Burger King recently launched a new advertising campaign featuring voiceovers written by an artificially intelligent bot (hilarity ensues). The creative team borrows from the popular internet meme in which, say, someone has "forced a bot to watch over 1,000 hours of Friends episodes and then asked it to write a Friends episode of its own," as here.

It’s a clever campaign centering on a timely topic: the rise of AI, and how it seems our society is exaggerating the extent to which this technology is affecting our lives. But if you look a bit deeper, it also speaks to a growing fear people have that may or may not be founded: Will a robot take my job?

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While we’re still far away from AI successfully attempting truly creative endeavors, it’s not surprising that a creative team at an ad agency developed this campaign. I’d call it future-proofing your career.

The reality is, AI is here to stay -- and changing virtually every industry, from transportation to healthcare to marketing. Yes, marketing.

If you’re a CMO, first have a good laugh at Burger King’s campaign -- no denying it’s funny.

Then get back to business and give AI some serious thought.

Chances are you already know this; I bet your CEO has asked you about your “AI strategy” more than once this year -- just as business leaders were vaguely asked to have “digital strategy” five to 10 years ago. Even if the goal isn’t always clear, no one wants to be left behind, which has lead to a flurry of activity in board rooms as people try to demonstrate their AI prowess.

The role of AI in marketing

Machine learning is gaining significant traction in digital marketing, changing operations from marketing intelligence and forecasting tools all the way through to point of purchase on e-commerce sites. Take, for example, recommendation engines on Spotify or Netflix; their level of personalization is infamous for being uncannily accurate. Now apply that to search marketing efforts on massive e-commerce on sites like Walmart and Amazon. The business impact is huge.

Programmatic advertising, which is inherently powered by machine learning, is also skyrocketing in popularity.

And while it’s easy to recognize how the technical aspects of marketing, such as segmentation and targeting, can be improved through automation, we tend to overlook how creative itself can be optimized with the right AI tools.

I imagine many marketers and business leaders aren’t even aware of what’s possible when it comes to applying this technology to target your creative to the right audiences.

Unfortunately, not knowing is not good enough in these days of fierce competition. As digital spend in advertising grows, so should our level of rigor around measuring the effectiveness of these marketing efforts.

AI is enabling marketers to be more accountable for their creative work. Not only do deep data sets help us test and compare copy and design choices, but when applied to the right tech products, these algorithms can now also recommend the creative elements that will perform best among different audience segments.

At the end of the day, would an AI ever be able to craft Burger King’s new bot campaign, from idea genesis through to execution? Of course not -- at this stage, anyway.

But it can certainly help ensure that every component is optimized, building on existing insight about what will resonate with consumers and motivate them to act.

With digital budgets surging in the billions, that’s no joking matter.

1 comment about "What Every CMO Can Learn From Burger King's Campaign".
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  1. Tom Baer from TBI, October 29, 2018 at 2:34 p.m.

    Would AI ever have come up with brilliant creative like DDB's "Lemon" or "Think Small" for VW back in the day? No, it is exactly what it would NOT do. Keep your AI and give me human creative, thank you.

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