Advertising and PR giant Publicis has embraced a groundbreaking approach to its annual holiday video, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to express gratitude to its team members.
Following a year of remarkable achievements, including securing the top spot in the industry, the company is stepping into 2024 with an unconventional New Year's initiative.
Rather than a single video, CEO Arthur Sadoun collaborates with his AI counterparts — AI Directoire+ and AI Maurice — to deliver 100,000 personalized video messages, one for each member of the Publicis team.
Using the company's platform Marcel, the experiment aims to push the boundaries of AI video, storytelling and scalability. Information about each employee's interests and passions was gathered and connected, ensuring that the personalized messages were tailored to resonate with them.
In an unexpected turn, individuals within the company, such as Carla, Dave, Agathe, Nigel and even Maurice, have reportedly acquired surprising new skills along the way.
The Untapped Potential of AI in Personalization
The innovative use of AI not only delivers a memorable New Year's message but also highlights the diverse talents cultivated within the organization.
Chief Strategist Carla Serrano explained that the motivation for this initiative was not only to commemorate Publicis's remarkable year but also to serve as a valuable proof-of-concept for the company.
Achieving milestones such as topping the charts in organic growth, new business acquisitions and environmental, social and governance (ESG) rankings inspired the company to embrace the challenge of creating 100,000 versions of these films.
"AI video is really unstable – it can’t tell stories, let alone humor, let alone at scale. But we decided we would embrace that and create 100,000 versions of these films," she shared.
Apart from showcasing Sadoun's reflections on the past year, the films also introduce an AI "twin" – a more youthful-looking counterpart of the CEO, proficient in languages like German, Portuguese and Korean through a text-to-voice AI tool called ElevenLabs.
Meanwhile, animated segments depicting Publicis leaders engaging in various sports were created using the generative AI video tool Runway.
The personalization aspect is fueled by information extracted from Marcel.
"Everyone has a profile, much like in social media, so we’re aware of their passion points and skills. That was all fed into the machine, in alignment with the comedy concept… and allowed us to personalize the experience for them," Serrano explained.
Despite challenges and imperfections in the process, the project is a tangible example of AI production tools being effectively utilized at scale.
Le Truc's creative chief Andy Bird, who led the effort, highlighted the potential impact on the industry concluding that "very soon, this technology will be quicker and faster to use and will be used with client work very soon."