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Where Technology Meets Storytelling
22 Jun 2016

Where Technology Meets Storytelling

20322595535_12a8493369_mThe publication The Drum sent out a fascinating story recently. The publication was working on an AI issue, and they wanted to know what would happen if, using IBM Watson, marketers could actually interview David Ogilvy. For you non-marketers out there, Ogilvy is kind of considered the king of marketing. He passed away in 1999 after an illustrious career in advertising. He was the kind of guy AMC’s Mad Men was paying tribute to. Well, in the good ways, not necessarily the bad ways.

So, the folks at The Drum loaded IBM Watson with 58,000 words written by or about David Ogilvy, and then several different marketing executives were invited to ask “Ogilvy” questions. Some of the answers were enticingly profound. For example:

Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO of Airbnb, asked if it was hard to find the right talent in the agency world. “Ogilvy” said, in part,

Now the clients can pay higher salaries than we can, and we have difficulties in getting people who are as good as theirs. That’s why the initiative has moved from the agencies to the clients. This is a very serious situation that has come about because the clients are cutting down on our commissions. In that way they almost force us to hire less-qualified people. I don’t know how it will end.

Matthew Charlton of Brothers and Sisters asked “Ogilvy” what his biggest disappointment was. I thought this response was particularly extraordinary.

I really don’t know. It was always hard to lose clients and good people. But one day I looked it up and realised that I had fired five times more clients than had fired me. One of the clients I lost was Guinness. It happened when we were a very small agency in New York. The reason was that one of our copywriters got drunk at a party where journalists were present. He said some awful things about Guinness, and the next day the American manager fired us. The poor man got all shocked when I broke into tears in front of him. He didn’t expect that. Some years later, we got the client back, and this time for the whole world. So the story has a happy ending.

Hard to believe these are responses from a machine, isn’t it?

What are the implications for your company?

Factually, your company probably won’t be able to make much use of this kind of amazing technology in your every day life, at least not for now. Eventually, though, you could use artificial intelligence to handle customer service, perhaps. Chat bots are already being used on Facebook Messenger, after all.

What do you think the implications are of this AI technology? We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: via Creative Commons

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