Cadbury ad shows how the ad industry is becoming AI-savvy

Cadbury ad shows how the ad industry is becoming AI-savvy
27 Oct, 2021

Have you seen the Cadbury advertisement where actor Sharukh Khan’s digital avatar is endorsing small businesses by the names of their respective stores? 

The personalised ad, which has gone viral online, uses Bengaluru-based Rephrase.ai’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform to generate those digital images and enable small businesses and merchants to modify a part of the digital avatar’s speech to address the stores by their names.

Generative AI, which is helping Rehrase.ai perform this digital trick, allows computers to learn an underlying pattern in the original data source and use it to generate similar content. Some of the techniques used include generative adversarial networks (GANs), transformers, and variational auto-encoders. 

GANs, unfortunately, are better known for developing deepfake videos whereby a person’s face is replaced with that of another, while the underlying speech is unchanged. GAN pits two neural networks--generator and a discriminator against each other. The generator is responsible for generating content based on the original data while the discriminator is responsible for finding the inaccuracies in generated data and original data.

The fact, though, is that the advertising industry in India has started to leverage AI to make advertisements work more effectively for brands. The use of digital avatars is just one application. Other notable applications of AI in the industry include targeting of consumers with advertisements based on insights generated through AI tools and leveraging AI to show more personalized versions of the same advertisements to different consumers.

“Overall KPIs (key performance indicators) are moving from reach to time spent, and from time spent to relevance. Customizing the content and offering something relevant is very important for advertisers. AI can enable advertisers to deliver more relevant messages”, said Ashish Pherwani, leader for media and entertainment at EY India. He believes this is a very long-term trend, which is in its infancy.

Before the Diwali ad campaign, Mondelez had used Rephrase.ai’s technology for another campaign in August to create a digital avatar of actor Hrithik Roshan to send personalized messages to sisters for Rakshabandhan.

For Rephrase.ai, the Diwali campaign has generated a lot of interest in what they do and resulted in more queries for similar ad campaigns, said CEO Ashray Malhotra. The firm is working on another campaign of the same magnitude that is expected to be released in the next few days.

“The campaign we did with Mondelez has helped normalize the concept and make the reality happen sooner than we expected,” added Malhotra. Rephrase.ai’s core technology is to create digital human clones, also known as artificial humans, with around 15 minutes of video data using AI.

Targeting consumers based on insights generated with AI tools is also fast catching on in India, points out Pherwani. "Now you can use AI to find hidden patterns from profiles on social media, location data, consumption patterns, and even photos that have been uploaded by users," added Pherwani.

Several firms in India such as Bengaluru-based InfiniteAnalytics leverage AI to generate such insights for brands.

According to Pherwani another area where AI is being used by advertisers is to create customized versions of content. “Some of the Indian firms that are using AI for this first create ads but the visuals they will present to one user may vary from the one they will show to another user,” he added.

Personalization leads to a better customer experience. Making advertisements more relevant and personalized is a top priority for many brands these days. A recent SmarterHQ report shows that 80% of frequent shoppers only shop with brands that offer a personalized experience. 

Advertisers today can optimize vast amounts of data at their disposal to create better campaigns and drive more impact leveraging AI, said Viswanath Ramaswamy, Vice President, Technology, IBM Technology Sales, India/South Asia.

"AI can be infused in the entire journey cycle like Ad creation, Ad targeting, Ad platforms with use cases like conversational marketing," he added. 

Experts believe AI can empower small businesses that may not have the budget to sign celebrities with more fan following. “By using AI, one medium with one message has the possibility of becoming millions of messages. This is a fragmentation of the communication process, where fragmentation means localization. Anything that localizes and brings down the cost of advertising for small businesses is always useful," said Harish Bijoor, a brand strategy specialist.

Ramaswamy feels AI’s segmented approach, superior buyer experience, and real-time competitive analysis make a significant difference for smaller businesses. 

Cadbury advertisement is the precursor to the huge role AI is going to play in the advertisement industry. Malhotra points out, the meaning of signing a brand ambassador changes fundamentally with this technology. According to Vandana Das, a marketing and communication consultant, “This is just the beginning. AI is an enabler and its application in advertising is going to increase many times in the coming years.”