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Learn about a four amazing experiments with AI, VR and AR from the practitioners that created them.

Sarah Golding, IPA President and Chief Executive Officer and Partner of CHI & Partners, sets out her vision of how AI, AR and VR are creating new possibilities. She introduces a panel of practitioners all using these technologies in a creative context to produce art, experiences and even beer. Great insights into how agencies will deliver effective creativity for clients in the future and a live demonstration of an in-store VR experience.

Related content: You can also watch a short interview with panellist and AI beer maker Rob McInerney.

Key Learnings

Find out:

Introduction with Sarah Golding
How Google Arts and Culture Lab have been melding machine learning and art
How to brew a beer using AI
How to sell Guinness using VR
How to create your audience’s dream car, in real time



Sarah Golding asked the question, why as an industry are we choosing to be less effective? The overriding growth of digital marketing and our reliance on machines to buy media for us has created a litany of bad practices. Advertising channels we know work, are being replaced by those we know far less about, but because digital delivers immediate numbers and quantifiable proof we keep doing it.

She sees EffWeek as a chance to give both clients and agencies pause for thought – on doing what is right for the business, not just the quarterly report.

But Sarah does not want us to turn her backs on digital, on the contrary, she wants the machines involved much more, which is why her agenda as President of the IPA is ‘the magic and the machines’. She can’t wait to see the likes of VR and AR in the hands of the very best storytellers in our industry. To whet the appetite she chose four experiments to showcase.

How Google Arts and Culture Lab have been melding machine learning and art

Speaker: Freya Murray, Creative Lead, Google Arts and Culture Lab

At the Google Arts and Culture Lab in Paris they constantly ask the question “what is next for technology and the arts? How can the two be married to create innovation in the cultural sector?”  The Lab brings together technologists, artists and cultural practitioners to create experiments to answer those questions.

One of the foci of the lab’s curiosity is machine learning. There are a number of creative coders in residence at Google who work on the Lab’s projects.

One of the things the Lab does is digitise content from lots of cultural partners around the world through the Google Arts app. So they started to wonder how they could apply machine learning to help people navigate large amounts of arts content in new and unexpected ways.

(timecode 11:55) Video showing some of the lab’s projects

Here are a few examples:

  • The X degrees of separation project looks at the connections between artworks. The tool allows you to take two artworks and then it finds and builds an often surprising six degrees of connection between them.
  • There are lots of landscapes in art, so what about a landscape of art that people can explore. The project Freefall does just that.
  • Tags automatically applies text to images using image recognition so you can search for something that is within a picture
  • T-sne map – All the artworks are organised in this map by visual similarity alone. It creates a 3D landscape where you can navigate around different artworks grouped by similarity to find new connections.

How to brew a beer using AI

Speaker: Dr Rob McInerney, Founder IntelligentLayer and IntelligentX Brewing

(timecode 17:25) Video

  • AI is about making decisions and making beer is a series of decisions. There are almost endless types of beer you can make so the project involves a lot of uncertainty
  • Ai can create a conversation with customers that helps to develop the product
  •  The project uses a combination of reinforcement learning and Bayesian decision making
  • It effectively puts customers and brewers in the same room

(timecode 19:15)

The product self-evolves based on feedback from customers – the more feedback it gets the more it learns about itself. The AI is there to do two things:

  • Decide how to change the beer
  • Decide what feedback to seek, what questions to ask and how to interact

Forget the AI – that’s just the mechanism, this is actually about engagement and a direct relationship with customers. It activates the ‘IKEA effect’, people co-created the product so they are more interested in consuming it. It puts the consumer right at the centre of the value chain and builds the business around them.

Illustration with the words "think people first, digital tech is just an enabler" from EffWeek 2017

This product is entirely built on a long-term strategy, the AI needs it. The longer the customer interacts with the brand the better the data, the better the beer, and the better the experience.

Related content: You can also watch a short interview with panellist and AI beer maker Rob McInerney.

How to sell Guinness with VR

Speaker Adam Collins, Associate Creative Director RG/A

(time code 23:03)

RG/A asked themselves “How can we enhance beer by giving people experiences they haven’t had before?”

First, they worked with Professor Charles Spence to break down and bring to life the different flavour profiles of all the Guinness beers. They created a VR experience that used every sense to give the user a flavour experience with beer that you could not have got in any other way.

(timecode 24:33) Watch Adam demonstrate the VR experience they created with Sarah Golding in the driving seat and a projection of what she is seeing and hearing. The experience was originally run in-store at Tescos.

How to create a users dream car in real time

Speaker: Carl Addy, Creative Director at The Mill

(timecode: 29:46) Carl talks and shows a film at the same time.

In the past, it has taken months to achieve the kind of high-quality rendering you see in CGI in films. But the gaming industry has, for obvious reasons, been developing this capability. They now are close to cinematic rendering in games in real time. This means that we will be able to interact spontaneously with narratives that are beautiful.

RG/A had built a car called ‘Blackbird’ which, with rendering can be any car you want it to be.

At a big gaming development conference, they worked with Chevrolet and the games company Epic. They showed a film (filmed with the blackbird), in which viewers could swap out the cars during a car chase. The changes are live – not pre-recorded, so the cars can be swapped out at any point in any frame, from any angle.

(timecode 37:00) Sarah sums up.

“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA