Lexus Lets AI Write The Perfect Car Commercial

Grab a tissue, it's a tearjerker. Or maybe it isn't. I don't really understand it.
By Daniel Smith
Cover photo: via Lexus (edited).

Good commercials help sell things, that's just how the world works. But what if you don't have the money to spend on an expert creative team to come up with one?

Well, Lexus — which I'd like to point out definitely isn't strapped for cash so could have afforded actual humans — reckons it has the solution: artificial intelligence. Give a well-tuned AI 15 years of award-winning ads to pore over and it should be able to churn out a script for the perfect luxury car commercial, no?

As it happens, the technically perfect luxury car commercial tells the story of an emotional Lexus engineer watching his creation destroy a crash test machine. Which is, uh, interesting.

As the first commercial ever to be entirely scripted by AI, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that it isn't exactly the smoothest story. The driving interlude in the middle doesn't really fit with the rest of the story, but the AI decided — quite unsurprisingly considering every car ad I ever remember seeing — that there needed to be a driving-in-the-mountains-with-forest-and-water-around shot at some point. Oh, and nobody shows crash tests on live TV, a little explanation of why that's happening could have been nice.

In addition to our computerized friends — IBM's Watson AI in this case — Lexus also worked with a few creative agencies and Scottish director Kevin Macdonald, best known for his work on The Last King of Scotland and Whitney Houston biopic Whitney. With directing talent like that on board, it shouldn't be a surprise that the advert looks great, even if there are a few holes in the computer-generated storyline.

Then again, it makes more sense than that X2 advert. You know, the one with that guy obsessed with gold fighting Dr Eggman in a massive robot spider. That one sucked.

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