London agency makes concerted push into AI marketing

I receive an awful lot of PR pitches around new products, which I normally ignore. However, I popped along to meet Happy Finish earlier this week because it billed the meeting as an “AI demo” focused on marketing. Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence. The promise is pretty all encompassing. Yet the focus tends to be clever and behind the scenes rather than slick and upfront.

Happy Finish is a Shoreditch agency which produces high-end imagery combined with the latest tech – like AR and VR. It isn’t all about 360-degree branded video either, it produces the full gamut and includes comprehensive B2B VR experiences which bring complicated machinery to life. Now it wants to use AI to help brands personalise experiences and conversations and is placing a particular focus on massive growth market Asia.

Today it has announced a crowdfunding campaign (invited investors only until 10th November) and aims to raise £395K ($483) to this end. Not surprisingly the marketing collateral (an A5 glossy physically printed booklet) is beautifully done with charts, messaging and even a P&L overview.

The big idea, explains Stuart Waplington who founded the company in 2004, is that AI and imagery are a natural fit and this can help take recommendations beyond the somewhat clunky ‘people who like this also like this’. Instead this technology can help produce “trends in real time” and depending on user volumes factor in geography or other variables.

Happy Finish has come up with two AI driven proof of concepts to back-up its ambitions. The first is “Shoegazer” which – based on artificial intelligence trained on 50 sneakers photographed 50 times in different lighting conditions and angles – aims to personalise trainers in a fun way. You simply photograph your shoe and away the campaign goes. One idea proposed is linking brands to music. The other is associating products with unique graphic art. Only time will tell if and how brands us this in practice.

The second idea – which isn’t marketing but was produced out of an internal need – is “Buzzteam”. This is a talent platform for managing freelancers which integrates with Slack and other communications tools to crunch through the data and propose the best, and most logistical, fit for particular assignments. “It was something we required and we couldn’t find it anywhere,” explains Waplington, who says the team has used it internally for six months. It is a couple of months away from external launch.

Artificial intelligence is an area that every company wants to be part of but it is hard to make it work in practice. This is why I thought this very concerted, well organised approach seems a savvy move. More and more agencies and brands are looking to find novel ways to tap into the area and it is likely that those who manage it will do very well indeed.  


Also read:

Microsoft runs through its AI strategy at Future Decoded London

AI-as-a-service: IBM and Infosys lock horns but can anyone challenge Google

Why is the UK such a centre for AI innovation?


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