Artificial Intelligence Writes Latest Lexus ES Commercial

Artificial Intelligence has been playing a role in automobiles for a while now with things like emergency breaking and autonomous driving. Now it’s writing car commercials. Lexus has teamed up with IBM’s Watson to help create it’s latest spot “Driven by Intuition”.


Lexus Artificial Car Commercial Intelligence Watson -Yell Robot
credit: Lexus


IBM’s Watson Helps Write Latest Lexus Commercial

The car brand isn’t the first to use artificial intelligence in writing a spot. Burger King recently used AI to help create a few hilariously bad commercials. While they were written with artificial intelligence, the spots weren’t meant to be taken that seriously as they had phrases like “We see the Burger King watches the friends” and “Bit of Mayonnaise for you to sleep”.

Lexus’ commercial has more of a serious tone as it combines a story with slick images. The company is claiming that this is “the advertising industry’s first commercial scripted by artificial intelligence”.


Watson Analyzed 15 Years of Material to Create “Driven by Intuition”

To learn what to look for, Watson was given data from the online-video marketplace Unruly to learn what type of elements connected emotionally with viewers. It also was fed data from a study conducted by the applied science division of the University of New South Wales in Australia, which analyzed how people respond to car advertising.

To create the script, Watson analyzed 15 years’ worth of footage, text, and audio from award-winning campaigns along with other data. Watson then identified elements that were common in effective commercials. According to IBM, the AI was looking for things that were both emotionally intelligent and entertaining.

As far as the story Watson created, it’s a bit bias. The star isn’t a human but rather the car’s artificial intelligence. It tells the story of the new Lexus ES who gets captured by evil forces. The car is about to meet its doom by being crashed into a truck. At the last second, it’s emergency brake system kicks in and the Lexus ES escapes. The car is then shown driving off into the sunset on a scenic mountain road.


Lexus Artificial Car Commercial Intelligence Watson -Yell Robot
credit: Lexus

AI Collaborated With Humans to Create Car Commercial

Despite the company’s claim that is was the “advertising industry’s first commercial scripted by artificial intelligence”, it was actually a group effort. Lexus, along with agency The&Partnership London and technical partner Visual Voice, worked hand in hand with Watson to create the commercial. While the AI created the script flow and a very rough outline,  the human run agencies built the story. The commercial was directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald.

Before we start telling ad executives to find another line of work,  we’d love to see Watson’s script versus the final product. While the AI did craft a seemingly interesting outline, it’s unclear how much human involvement shaped the commercial.

While it doesn’t seem artificial intelligence will be a replacement for creatives any time soon, it still can serve as a useful collaborator. By being able to quickly analyze large amounts of data, AI can be a great help in getting the creative process and advertising strategy pointed in the right direction.

Check out our article on AI helping to save wildlife.