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1 year ago
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Will AI Technology and Ads Be the Big Winners at Super Bowl LII?

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Many people reading this will be rushing out of the office today and will immediately begin preparations for Super Bowl Sunday. Will legendary Tom Brady lead the New England Patriots to their third title in four years? If you ask Amazon’s Alexa, she will tell you that it will be the Eagles that will defy expectations yet again and will be the team lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

One thing that we can be sure of is that advertising and technology will once again be playing a significant part of the Super Bowl, both in and outside of the U.S. Bank Stadium. Sophisticated technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence will also be aiming to win your hearts and minds this weekend.

StubHub has been using augmented reality to help Super Bowl ticket buyers, and Snapchat’s Gatorade Selfie will play a part in making AR enter the mainstream. But, Virtex Apps is attempting to fill those infamous “empty spaces” during the big game with AR competitions that can be played in the stadium or at home.

The company proudly declared that Sunday would be the first time users will have a chance to participate in a live AR game, either at the game or watching on any television. But anything that sees people interacting and competing with each other on their smartphones has to be better than staring down at a screen and endlessly scrolling in silence.

Despite living in a digital age where we stream our favorite TV shows and watch more online content than adverts, big brands will still spend $5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad. Many will question if these ads are worth the investment, but the Super Bowl is one of the few remaining social events that is actually watched live. There is no option to fast forward commercials, making the game the most significant day for advertisers.

It’s too early to predict what ads will be deemed most successful, but a theme of high-tech robots and artificial intelligence looks set to wow tech-savvy audiences. Sprint is introducing “Evelyn,” an AI robot that finds how humans choose their network provider to be amusingly illogical.

When Evelyn sees a smartphone notification from Verizon, she appears baffled about why anyone pays twice as much for an unlimited plan when “Sprint’s network reliability is less than a 1% difference than Verizon’s.” A doctor replies, “I never thought of that,” only for Evelyn and her robotic peers to mock the intellect of their human master.

We might not trust marketers telling us what is best for us, but could a machine with superior intelligence delivering a message of “Do the math and switch to Sprint” be a double bluff to convince tech-savvy audiences to switch providers? Droga5 created the ad that feels like a cross between the movie “Deus ex Machina” and a Black Mirror episode.

We’re pretty sure robots won’t suffer from the same apathy and confusion people face when it comes to understanding wireless companies – David Droga

Will Verizon return with a smackdown one-liner to get the last laugh? The big point here is artificial intelligence, and the acceptance of this technology is entering the mainstream. Apple’s HomePod has joined the smart-speaker party with Amazon and Google. But this is only the beginning.

Facebook and Samsung are also heavily rumored to be introducing AI assistants and augmented reality is high on the agenda from tech companies too. The ads, apps, and technology we experience this weekend are also setting new expectation levels. Consumers are increasingly looking for big brands to lead the way with technology solutions that are better than anything their competitors offer.

Companies that fail to embrace the technological change that has engulfed our world will quickly fall behind. There is an argument that some already have. But, it’s crucial to understand that it’s customers that are driving this change rather than the tech elite. The only question that remains is how your organization will adapt.

If you cannot be bothered to watch the game and all the adverts that come as part of the package, there is a tech alternative. Electronic Arts have run an AI-controlled simulation of the game using this year’s edition of its Madden The simulation predicts that the Patriots will win 24-20 in a nail-biting last-minute victory. If the prediction proves to be accurate, many may wonder if life itself is just a simulation, but that is a topic for another day.

Although being surrounded by friends with drinks and snacks was always the secret ingredient to enjoying the big game, maybe technology will be playing a more prominent part in making this Super Bowl Sunday one to remember you probably realize.

1 year ago
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