It was a beautiful sunny solstice, June 21, 2035. Cannes was in full swing, both virtually and in reality.
Nike’s AI media department won the Best Media Strategy and Execution category. Its actual Media Performance and Delivery Vice President of AI Prompting showed up in person. She leads a team of 10 AI Prompters that drive all of Nike’s media strategy development, delivery, optimization and evaluation globally. The Cannes Jury (also an AI, obviously) called out the speed and precision of Nike’s media performance. Critics however pointed out that, as both the jury and Nike’s media department are driven by ChatGPT’s latest evolution, the win feels a little suspicious.
AB-InBev’s AI won Best Advertiser, a remarkable turnaround from 2023, when reactions to an Instagram post had initially knocked off 20% of its share value. The marketing department had wholesale been replaced by Alphabet’s Bard and Adobe Sensei, managed by a small team of prompters armed with a long blacklist of search and content terms, creative expressions, media channels, influencers and other options that could somehow cause upset. In 2034, Bard/Sensei had decided that it was in everyone’s best interest to just advertise on a home-grown, AI-managed and distributed media platform called Clydesdales and Dalmatians (C&D). This move proved to be enough to land them the coveted Best Advertiser win.
Notable was also the win by S4Captial in the category Longest Longevity Leadership. Martin Sorrell appeared as his usual avatar to receive the coveted award from the hands of another avatar, and prior year’s winner, Maurice Levy. Said Sorrell: “As I predicted on May 15, 2023 while being interviewed by CNBC, AI has been a net positive for our industry. We do 10 times the volume in creative production and media placement today versus 10 years ago, with a tenth of the people we employed at the time. Plus, I feel the same as I felt at that time. This AI body of mine is remarkable”.
On one of the electric hoverboard boats in the Cannes harbor, Forrester delivered an update on its research that it had started in 2023 called AI-Powered Workforce Forecast. Said its AI: “All our early predictions were wrong. The carnage… beep bop boop… the destruction… ctrl-alt-del… the redesign of the global advertising and marketing workforce has been far more radical and faster than we predicted in 2023. At the time, we predicted that 7.5% of the workforce would be replaced by AI, and that the more senior/involved roles would be mostly immune to the AI revolution. The reality is that human predictors at the time placed that decimal point wrong: it was not 7.5%, but 75%. We now feel our predictions are 100% accurate, as no humans interfere with the immutable laws of our AI anymore.”
There was one lonely voice, sitting on a bench along the Croisette, muttering and typing on his smartphone. People recognized this person as former tech mogul Elon Musk. He was heard saying to no one in particular: “I told you so -- but I felt like I was shouting down the echo chamber I own.” The man was reportedly later moved to a facility with an AI-created Boring Company, where he is happily trying to goad ChatGPT to self-destruct.