In Coca-Cola's A.I. Alliance, UGC Makes an Improbable Return
In an earnest effort to prove it won't be made obsolete by our A.I. overlords, Coca-Cola, in an initiative developed with Ogilvy, has allied itself with OpenAI, best known for giving us ChatGPT, DALL·E and Codex. The result is called "Create Real Magic."
The work plays like the effort of an overzealous manager doing their Oxford best to outdo the bloated agency of their office nemesis. If this feels weirdly familiar, it should: This A.I. collab has flung us back into the user-generated content days of advertising!
The platform is equipped with iconic brand assets, like the contour bottle, the Spencerian script logo, Santa Claus and Polar bears. You then write prompts to produce various creations that incorporate such details.
Through March 31, for 17 participating countries, people can submit their arty results, which could then appear on Coke billboards in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus. Thirty participants will also be tapped to attend the Real Magic Creative Academy, a three-day workshop at the brand's Atlanta headquarters.
Just what we wanted. Instead of A.I. stealing creative jobs, we return to an era when brands thought everyone and their uncle could do said jobs instead!
(As a fun aside, the website can't be accessed in France. It yields a 404 error that reads, "Magic is not available for the country you are logging in!")
"Our company is embracing the power of digital in every aspect of our business, and 'Create Real Magic' is a way to invite even more people to join us," says Manolo Arroyo, global chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola. "We invite fans to experiment and create their own, totally unique AI-based artwork using this innovative new platform."
Beyond the UGC bit, four artists—Emma Sofija, Chris Branch, Paul Parsons (Europe, and Ean Hwa Huang—created custom art using iconic Coca-Cola imagery and OpenAI technology. This is a good example of how creative professionals will actually interact with A.I. And it's also not new: In the '90s, David Bowie co-created a "Verbasizer" app, which analyzed sentences, cut words and randomly distributed various elements to help him produce unique compositions.
"Create Real Magic" is an iteration of Coca-Cola's overall "Real Magic" brand philosophy, and marks one of the first global campaigns attempting to use A.I. as a key marketing feature. (Jesus got there first, though.)
"This campaign is an opportunity to co-create with artists and fans of Coca-Cola," says Arroyo. "It's also just a start to accessing AI’s potential impact in marketing and engaging consumers in ways they haven’t imagined. We can’t wait to see what fans are inspired to create using some of our iconic assets."
Because that went so well in the early social media days!
Click to enlarge these images, created through the new A.I. collab: