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The Art of AI: an IBM Watson Advertising exhibit for the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival

By June 26, 2018 April 28th, 2019 No Comments
Entrance to Art of AI

Going to the Cannes Lions Festival is every advertising exec’s dream. The creativity, the networking, the yacht parties…Cannes has it all. And not only is it an opportunity for agencies to pick up some awards, it’s a chance for some brands to do a little business.

Case in point: IBM Watson Advertising. Their IBM Watson Ads is AI-powered advertising technology that enables brands to have intelligent, personalized, 1:1 conversations with consumers. The tech can help you pick out clothes based on the weather, figure out what to cook for dinner, or even plan your next vacation. The machine learning behind Watson Ads is incredibly complex, so selling the product to brand marketers requires making it more approachable.

Our IBM Watson Advertising clients had big plans for Cannes in 2018, having dreamt up an environment where prospective clients could experience “the art of AI” firsthand and learn about how it can help their business. So they rented a gallery space a short walk from the festival, then asked us to brand it, floor to ceiling, inside and out.

To develop the core design theme, we dusted off our watercolor paint sets and went to work, hand painting different variations of flourishes and brushstrokes—ironically, far from “artificial”. Once the design foundation was set, we applied it to outdoor billboards, interior signage, wall art, interactive touchscreens and more.

Outside IBM Watson Cannes
The Art of AI Lounge
IBM Watson Art of Conversation
Hallway IBM Cannes
Art of AI IBM Watson

The space also became the focus of the brand’s social presence leading up to the festival and during the week, with tweets encouraging people to book private appointments and walk-thrus.

Watson Advertising Gallery Exhibition
Cannes IBM Watson
IBM Watson Art of AI
Watson Advertising Tweet

In the end, we made AI beautiful—and IBM très joyeux!