Amazing ways Coca-Cola uses generative AI in art and advertising

Some argue that in the very near future, we will either have to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) or use it to make it redundant – or have others use it. If this is true, artists, designers and other creatives are more at risk than most.

So, it’s interesting to see big companies like Coca-Cola choosing to kickstart their own generative AI journey with projects to involve and empower creatives.

The company recently appointed Prateek Thacker, global head of generative AI – becoming one of the first major multinationals to do so. This is a sure sign of how important technology feels.

In addition to this, a stunning AI-generated ad campaign has won over that really shows how AI, combined with human talent, can bring the wow factor.

Running through its other initiatives is the theme of empowering independent creators and small studios with the opportunities of generative AI.

The message seems to be that artists have nothing to fear from AI and should instead embrace its power to enhance their own skills.

Which sounds great – but does it actually contain water?

Here’s an overview of some of the ways the world’s most famous beverage company uses (or plans to use) generative AI. These are use cases that, while technically brilliant, raise interesting questions about how AI will change the relationship between technology, artists, and the corporations that put money on the table.

Head of Generative AI

This year, Coca-Cola appointed Pratik Thakkar as its global head of generative AI. Speaking to The Drum, he said he believes AI will bridge the gap between human creativity and brand identity.

He said, “Coca-Cola has always bridged the gap … how can we make it more accessible … something more palatable and useful for everyone?”

Thakkar believes the democratization of AI means the democratization of Coca-Cola – or at least its brand identity. The plan is to achieve this by making tools that allow anyone to play with new ways of communicating that identity.

Ethics are an important aspect of AI, and you’d expect them to be a concern for someone in charge of large operations like Coca-Cola. So it’s reassuring that he’s committed to ensuring that his company carefully selects its technology partners, knowing that their models are trained “the right way”.

Generative video advertising

Advertising Masterpiece is one of the first fruits of Coca-Cola’s foray into generative AI. The critically acclaimed video seamlessly integrates AI-enhanced animation with live action, bringing the world’s most famous works of art to life.

It was created in collaboration with OpenAI using their DALL-E2 generative image model and ChatGPT.

This is the result of a partnership established before 2023 when Coca-Cola announced that it was working with agency Bain & Company to explore innovative generative AI use cases in marketing and advertising.

Beverage manufacturer engagement with AI is long overdue, however, with predictive and prescriptive AI already in use for localized and personalized marketing initiatives.

A masterpiece works on many levels. It is a visually impressive piece of content that communicates brand identity. It’s also a sign that Coca-Cola is looking for people who can use generative AI to do amazing things. Ultimately, it serves as an announcement that generative AI has arrived in the advertising industry and is going to shake things up.

Enabling creativity?

In line with Thackeray’s stated belief in helping creatives unlock the power of AI, Coca-Cola organized the first Real Magic Creative Academy this year.

The event helped him build relationships with the independent art and design community. By fostering these relationships, it hopes to unearth the talent and inspiration needed to pursue great art.

It is an extension of the brand’s Create Real Magic campaign, which invited artists to use its digital platform to create images using Coke’s platform and assets, with winning images being displayed on billboards in New York and London.

Staying with the theme of creative empowerment, there is also Coke Studio. It’s a free music-making platform, now enhanced with generative AI capabilities.

Held at various festivals across the US, visitors can create songs, music videos and even album covers by answering questions posed by a ChatGPT-powered bot.

Once they’ve completed the process, which includes being filmed in a green room studio and incorporated into their video, their creations can be downloaded and shared.

It’s clear that the brand wants to associate itself with AI and the upcoming generation of artists and creators it believes will use it. Of course, it’s probably no coincidence that many of them, because of what they do, are likely to be recognized as influencers by marketers.

Is it really good for human creativity?

As generative AI becomes commonplace in advertising, we cannot ignore the implications for society at large, and especially for human creatives working in this rapidly changing field.

Hiring a head of generative AI is a big statement from any company that they understand the power of technology to transform their business. But when a company like Coca-Cola does it, it means it’s going to change an entire industry. If you’re a working artist or other creative, relying on businesses and initiatives to hire and commission you, is that a transformation in your best interest?

We’ve seen that generative AI enables the opportunity to create and express ideas in new and surprising ways. It also democratizes the creative process, meaning independent artists and small studios can produce work that can compete with larger agencies.

But there is a real fear that industries that have paid creatives for everything from company logo and packaging design to cinematic ads will divert that money to AI art. So, some creatives may find this giving them the tools to dig their own graves!

Another concern is that the growing closeness between industrial and tech giants like Coca-Cola and OpenAI, fueled by the AI ​​boom, shows that not everyone has equal access to these world-changing tools. We generally see AI providers offering excellent access to enterprise users. With access to the latest and most powerful models and algorithms, could we move towards a future where corporations have more influence over the world of art and design than they do?

Personally, however, I don’t believe any of these are predetermined outcomes. The steps we take in the coming years to ensure responsible and ethical access to society to manage AI’s impact on human life will determine the world we end up with.

I think it will take a long time to fully emulate human creativity. A masterpiece of advertising would not have been possible without human input. And I don’t think it could come up with something as iconic as the Coca-Cola logo. Or Santa Claus in a red coat.

Of course, that doesn’t mean businesses can’t use it to save money, especially on repetitive tasks – for example, mass personalization. But in the near term, as a professional artist or designer, being able to hone your skills with AI is likely to open the door to new and interesting opportunities.

Read more about these topics in my new book, The Internet of the Future: How the Metaverse, Web 3.0 and Blockchain Will Transform Business and Society And and ‘Business Trends in Practice’, which won the 2022 Business Book of the Year award. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube for more information on future trends in business and technology.

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