WEDNESDAY 12 JAN 2022 5:09 PM


Amy Wright, director of client strategy at Automated Creative talks about the role of automated technology and how it can be used to drive results and deliver groundbreaking consumer insight.

KFC did not expect to have ‘machines taught us how to be funnier’ on their 2021 bingo card. But that’s just what automation has helped them discover. Telling jokes with an edgier, more sarcastic tone of voice has over halved the cost-per-install of the KFC app from Facebook ads. Using Automation has proved to the brand that neutral lines or lines that only referenced topical humour don’t drive the right outcome from consumers

Automation is typically restricted to lower funnel, ‘performance’ media. It’s role reduced to make things a little cheaper, and a little faster. The accountant’s dream: a pursuit of marginal gains and media tinkering.

Automated technology can bring so much more to brands. To really unlock its power, automation should be applied to big creative ideas and as a way to get closer to consumers. To find out what really makes them tick.

Creativity and Performance are not binary opposites. They are most powerful when combined. As marketers we should strive to make creative decisions more data-driven, and push to make data and performance disciplines far more creative.

Blending the two disciplines is the most powerful way to approach marketing: there are some things machines are really good at and some things that people are really good at.
Our award-winning work and methodology proves that you don’t need to choose - you really can have your cake and eat it.

By reclaiming automation for more creative purposes, we’ve driven significant results for our clients like KFC across brand building work; proved online ad campaigns can drive offline sales for Jim Beam; and delivered groundbreaking consumer insight to brands like Durex.

In taking this approach, we flip marketing process on its head. What was a linear process: research, planning, production, campaign, review begins to happen simultaneously.

Jack Hinchliffe, marketing director for KFC UK and Ireland says, Turning to AI helped us be more human and develop more empathy to our customers. We didn’t replace the creative, we optimised it with a continuous feedback loop that delivered results far beyond our expectations.

Technology is a production time saver, whilst also being a strategy generator - not to mention almost guaranteed improvements in KPIs - we delivered 193% uplift on benchmark for KFC.

With our proprietary ad tech platform CREATOR, every campaign we run also becomes a research project: gathering data and tracking consumer reactions to creative decisions. It’s a far richer type of data than media metrics, and the scale delivered is much more comprehensive than the average survey or focus group.

Creative campaign data is unstructured and complex, and by its nature proprietary to an individual brand. We can use it to discover unique white space that competitors could never tap into. New opportunities, when everyone else chases after the lowest common denominator: “best practice”.

Our findings and campaign for Jim Beam went against category convention, and delivered a 42% uplift in in store sales in the geographies our AI-optimised campaign targeted when we launched Jim Beam Peach. We also created a new insight bank for the best performing themes to use when launching NPD that are transferable across different types of media.

When brands don’t track the effect of the creative decisions they make, when they don’t understand the impact of tone of voice, or visual cues, or even different messages - they are literally leaving money on the table.

This is a call to arms - stop using technology to tinker around the edges of your marketing funnel. Make automation the foundation that powers the entire funnel: and unlock more creative, more strategic, and ultimately, more impactful work.