Ballet Inspired By AI Promoted With (What Else) AI-Driven Campaign


The San Francisco Ballet is staging a new production called Mere Mortals that takes inspiration from the proliferation of “ethically complicated” artificial intelligence and is using an AI-driven marketing campaign to promote it.   

Created by The Shipyard, the marketing campaign is designed to attract younger audiences who (for the most part, the reasoning goes) “don’t watch ballet.”   



The AI component uses ChaptGPT to generate “tongue-in cheek critiques of the ballet’s novel narrative performance,” according to the agency.   

“We are aiming to attract new audiences and by pairing new production techniques and electronic music with a centuries-old art form, plus the introduction of revolutionary ChatGPT in our advertising, we hope to challenge the perception of what ballet is able to accomplish,” says Tamara Rojo, artistic director of SF Ballet.   

After some initial fits and starts, the Shipyard creative team coaxed appropriate responses from the ChatGPT text engine for what appear to be review-type quotes for ads in the campaign.   

The agency leveraged existing SF Ballet images that were crafted in a closed generative AI system from original imagery of its performers.  

Some of the out-of-home executions are written in binary code — a nod to the tech-savvy population of San Francisco with the skills to decipher the quotes. 

“We wanted to do something that would surprise and delight Gen Z and Millennial audiences, appealing to their wit and sense of humor,” said Shipyard chief creative officer David Sonderman.  “We think tapping into the cultural phenomenon and debate about AI will do just this and create intrigue for what is sure to be a provocative performance.”   

The campaign includes online spots and outdoor "wild postings" and billboards. 

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