U.K. agency M&C Saatchi is experimenting with artificial intelligence in a billboard campaign for a fake coffee brand that it says takes a "Darwinian approach to advertising."
The outdoor ads for the ficitional Bahia Coffee will "evolve" according to how users interact with them, using facial recognition to gauge whether people look happy, sad or neutral. The ads will use a "genetic algorithm" to determine which "genes" in the ads --- including elements like copy, layout, fonts and image -- are successful. Elements that fail to trigger an engagement will be "killed off" whereas those that do will be reproduced in future executions. See a behind-the-scenes video here.
In a statement, M&C Saatchi calls this "a Darwinian approach to advertising whereby only the strongest creative executions survive."
David Cox, chief innovation officer at M&C Saatchi, said, "It's the first time a poster has been let loose to entirely write itself, based on what works, rather than just what a person thinks may work. We are not suggesting a diminished role for creative but we know technology will be playing a greater part in what we do."
The campaign, running on bus shelters in London's Oxford Street and Clapham Common, was done in partnership with Posterscope and Clear Channel UK.