Chances are, when you hear the words "robot" and "artificial intelligence," you think of movies you've seen or science fiction novels you've read. Certainly, like most people, you would put the idea in the realm of make-believe and entertainment. But some leaders feel its potential for marketing is huge. In reality, it is already making a difference in production design and some marketing communications.
What we're all looking for in consumer-centric marketing and think of as "the prize" is to create interactions that are personalized, meaningful, relevant and lasting. Because, when we accomplish this, we nurture long-term, value-generating relationships with our customers. This is where some people think artificial intelligence can help.
Artificial intelligence or "AI" is the capability of a machine to simulate human intelligence. Of course, simulating some aspects of human intelligence is something that most advertising technology already does today, through search engine recommendations, facial recognition or programmatic media. All of these technologies are only possible through AI and algorithms that mine massive amounts of consumer data.
Currently, most artificial intelligence applications are known as "narrow intelligence," narrow being the key word since such applications are limited to discreet functions and programs on individual devices like car, PC and mobile phones. But as AI becomes more advanced, it could reach the level of human brain intelligence or artificial general intelligence (AGI) and be able to reason, respond and react like a human.
Think about it. A personal robot that responds, evolves, and reacts to others in real time, one that provides custom experience and information, will be able to help those of us in marketing create more personalized relationships.
This is where opportunity lies. Currently, in advertising, we build communications plans based on email, text, website, apps, banners or TV commercials. But with AGI, we will be able to build communications programs with robots that have personality, sentience and multidimensional capabilities.
Just imagine if robots could help people learn things better, inspire new ideas, provide advice on how to save money, even guide people to live healthier, happier more fulfilling lives, all under your brand umbrella.
What if a person who wants to become more athletic can get an athletic robot to help, like an Adidas or Nike robot trainer that is sensitive to your body energy? What if a person keen on fashion can get a robot for style advice that is sponsored by Neiman- Marcus? Or what if a company needed to give their brand a personality boost and could get a fun-loving, light-hearted robot to inspire people and "lighten" the place up that is sponsored by the Disney company? Or there's a General Motors robot that can make certain you never, ever have a traffic accident?
It's easier to imagine such things happening if we think of robots as being about lifestyle benefits and not just technology. It's about trying to impact purchasing decisions, just like celebrity endorsements or content marketing are doing now.
Of course, many are wary of such a world haunted by branded robots. We can thank Hollywood for that with movies like Terminator and it's current iteration, Terminator Genisys, as well as Ex Machina. They hint at a future where man has lost control and the machine is superior. No one wants to think of a reality like that.
But robots do not have to be the bane of mankind, or necessarily create lazy people if they are designed with good intentions. They can make our lives better, and help us overcome the complexities of modern life. What if the brands we already trust can help us be better, with robots? What if?
MDB Interns Continue to do Great Things
When we started the MDB intern program in 1985, we hoped it would be a great way to begin relationships with smart, talented college students with an interest in the industry. They would get real agency experience and we would get to share ideas and knowledge.
The interns we've had the pleasure of working with have gone above and beyond. Aside from office tasks, they've dressed up as mascots for our clients, joined street teams, participated in focus groups, led social media campaigns, had "Thriller" dance-offs, and so much more.
What they've gone on to do after MDB is equally exciting. Some have gone on to Madison Avenue, Google, Mercedes Benz, Capitol Hill, international publishing companies, start-ups and nonprofits.
Kevin Katz, 2015 spring intern, was offered a full time job at L'Oreal after interning there this summer. "I learned a lot of valuable skills that definitely helped me succeed at L'Oreal" said Katz. "Working on my writing skills in a marketing/advertising context as well as the proposal for the Mad Men social media campaign was great experience to leverage."
If you know any college students interested in joining MDB, have them apply today.