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Lexus teams with IBM for AI scripted ad

Written by Hannah McGrath
21/11/2018

Lexus has teamed up with IBM Watson, an Oscar-winning director and London agencies to create the world’s first car advert scripted by artificial intelligence (AI).

The latest advert for the luxury car maker’s ES executive sedan was developed by feeding data from multiple sources, including award-winning luxury adverts from the past 15 years and research on human emotional responses into IBM’s Watson AI engine to generate a script.

The film, which was brought to life by Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald, whose credits include the Last King of Scotland, Whitney Houston biopic Whitney and Oscar-winning documentary One Day in September.

IBM said Watson was able to pick out elements which were common to award-worthy content along with themes that were evocative and entertaining.

The one-minute long ad, billed as a short drama, forms part of Lexus’ Europe-wide ‘Driven by Intution’ campaign.

It tells the story of a Lexus takumi master who completes painstaking work to release the Lexus ES into the world, only for it to be taken and threatened with destruction. At the crucial moment, the car’s automatic emergency braking system cuts in to save the day, demonstrating the value of the car’s intuitive technology.

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

“The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge.”

Agencies involved in the creative process included The & Partnership, Unruly and Visual Voice.