Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

Katja Forbes

Katja Forbes founded syfte, a specialist business in research and experience design in 2014, and is an Australian pioneer in the field of experience design. Katja is an International Director on the Interaction Design Association Board. She is proud to be a co-founding member and Local Leader in Sydney of the global community organisation, Interaction Design Association. Together with Joe Ortenzi, Katja has built a community of over 1700 designers in Sydney, providing them with learning opportunities via lecture based meetups that draw a crowd of 150 people each time, a mentoring program and workshops.

We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.  

Already, businesses are starting to utilise AI. For example, we built a basic chatbot utilising an AI platform in a week-and-a-half. The other great thing is large enterprises aren’t leading the way – anyone can be involved. Companies are now making their AI tools accessible and easy to use, and we will see more rapid experimentation and innovation from smaller businesses as a result.  

Right now, the smart companies are making use of artificial intelligence to deliver audience impact. One way is by using AI in marketing and advertising techniques to surprise targeted audiences into paying attention. Augmented reality for one, can make an impact on location and in certain contexts, particularly if using video to capture and amplify the result.  

The reasons are obvious. For quite a while now, it has been a challenge for brands to create advertising and marketing measures that break through all the noise. While various advertising techniques such as a TV commercial or billboard used to make an impact way, nowadays we are all so used to being confronted with visuals and sound everywhere we go that we have become masters at blocking it all out. We have ways of streaming TV and movie content that allow us to avoid advertising content, and various measures of filtering it out advertising-led social media and online experiences.  

AI and mixed reality offer tools to break through. For example, I recently came across a video of bus-stop advertising in London with a difference. It operates much like the game of Pokémon Go, when Pokémon characters are super-imposed onto real backgrounds that don’t exist. Effectively, when someone looks through the side of the bus-stop, using augmented reality, various images are super-imposed to give the impression they are coming toward the viewer.  

The campaign in question featured elements like a wild tiger coming toward the glass and scratching then disappearing behind it, spaceships coming into London, a man hanging from a balloon, and meteors hitting the nearby earth. The ‘Unbelievable’ campaign was created by Pepsi Max, and features the Pepsi logo on the opposite side of the bus-stop window. It’s shown several times in the video when the viewer walks around to have a look.  

From looking at the video of interactions with the AR advertising that’s now gone viral, it’s clear this use of augmented reality has been quite effective, and caught many people unawares.  
 

This use of augmented reality is likely to cause surprise and delight for some time, but videos of the effect may not have the power to go viral for long (unless the reaction of the viewer is completely unexpected or some other element offers a unique angle).   

In other words, I encourage businesses who want to use AI for marketing and advertising purposes to jump on the bandwagon fast, before AI becomes too common-place to make an impact.

Tags: emerging technology, digital marketing, augmented reality, digital advertising

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