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Lexus turns to IBM to create the world’s first AI scripted advert



In time all adverts, and the majority of content, will be created by AI, and people won’t be able to tell it from the “real” thing.


Over the past eighteen months or so I’ve been discussing how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been becoming increasingly creative and innovative, making a range of video shorts and (very) bad B-list movies, art, deepfakes and music, and even turning it’s hand at making videos from nothing more than plain text. And in time it’ll no doubt be entertaining us with its own A-List movies, although I still think that final goal is many years away.


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In the meantime though AI is still trying to get its digital brain around creating just a few minutes of good content, and in that vein luxury carmaker Lexus has just announced it teamed up with IBM and several London ad agencies to make “the world’s first car advertisement entirely scripted by artificial intelligence” – something I predicted would happen when I spoke about the Future of Advertising at the British Museum with LoopMe earlier this year.


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Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, who is known for films such as The Last King of Scotland and this year’s Whitney Houston biopic, the advert was created to showcase Lexus’ new ES executive sedan.

Created in partnership with London agencies The & Partnership, Unruly and Visual Voice, IBM Watson used AI to analyse 15 years of footage, text and audio for award-winning car and luxury brand campaigns to build the advert.


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IBM said Watson was able to identify elements which are common to award-worthy content, as well as themes that are emotionally intelligent and entertaining.

The 60 second advert, which you can see above, entitled Driven By Intuition, tells the story of a Lexus Takumi master craftsman who releases the new ES car into the world, only for it be taken away and threatened with destruction. The car’s automatic emergency braking system saves the day, demonstrating use of the technology on screen.

“When I was handed the script, the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential,” said Macdonald.

“The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform.”


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The & Partnership creative partner Dave Bedwood added: “I thought I’d be writing an ad with the assistance of AI. Instead it took over and wrote the whole script: a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life.”

How poetic… and this is all just the tip of the iceberg, which leaves me wondering – is the man crying in the film an actor who cares about his car, or an advertising exec crying over his job?

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