WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising groups, has teamed up with chipmaker Nvidia to use generative artificial intelligence in the production of advertising at scale for its clients.
The new technology platform, which will be announced by Nvidia boss Jensen Huang in Taiwan on Monday, will allow WPP to use AI to create in minutes campaigns that would have previously taken weeks.
The platform combines 3D imaging software that can be used to produce a fully accurate photo realistic image — of a car, for example — which can then be taken into a video or 2D advertising generated by the AI engine.
In the case of a car, this could be placed in a desert, or rainy street, with the car adapting to its surroundings — glistening wet or reflecting glare — in processes that would have taken days using a traditional green screen or real-life filming.
The speed of production means that advertising campaigns can be rapidly adapted for different markets or countries — putting the car into streets in Hong Kong or New York, for example — and will be able to create customised advertising for different digital channels such as YouTube or TikTok and their specific user groups.
Stephan Pretorius, chief technology officer for WPP, said that its clients were beginning to ask to use generative AI. “We are able to use generative AI to now personalise and . . . customise [advertising] to every environment in the world: you can create 10,000 versions within a couple of minutes.”
Many in the advertising industry are concerned that AI will replace their jobs given its ability to replicate familiar creative content. Advertising agencies are already using AI in media planning and buying.
WPP’s chief executive Mark Read said: “It’s much easier to identify the jobs that AI will disrupt than it is to identify the jobs that AI will create. We’ve applied AI a lot to our media business, but very little to the creative parts of our business.”
Read, who said the technology would be “fundamental” to WPP’s business, added that “clients are seeing ways of rapidly reducing the cost of production, to match the demands of new channels”.
The technology links up with Getty Images to ensure that copyright is also protected, addressing a big concern over the use of AI given the risk that it can “scrape” and use images unlawfully.
WPP has been working on trials of this technology with Nvidia for several years. Rev Lebaredian, vice-president of Omniverse and simulation technology at Nvidia, whose stock price rocketed last week on the back of its AI technology, told the Financial Times that the time had come to use generative AI in advertising.
“We had the ChatGPT moment. Everybody has realised now how transformative AI will be — you’re seeing that in our stock price now. WPP understood this early on.”
Nvidia’s Huang said: “The world’s industries, including the $700bn digital advertising industry, are racing to realise the benefits of AI,” Huang said, adding that WPP would now be able to give brands “product experiences and compelling content at a level of realism and scale never possible before”.