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Marketing Martech Media Planning and Buying

How Diageo is using AI to halve the price of 1,000 ad impressions


By Hannah Bowler | Senior Reporter

March 30, 2023 | 7 min read

The drinks conglomerate has been embedding artificial intelligence into its marketing functions after finding efficiencies, with CreativeX analyzing and optimizing creative for Diageo every three minutes.

Diageo embraces artificial technology after finding efficiencies

Diageo embraces artificial technology after finding efficiencies / Pexels

Diageo is to expand its adoption of AI after the tech helped reduce the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions (CPM, or cost per mille) by 50%.

Diageo’s chief marketing officer Cristina Diezhandino tells The Drum that the business has been an early adopter of AI and that the tech is already embedded into her marketers’ dashboards.

“We’re making good use of it. I can see this as one of the areas where you can totally see that the adoption of technology is going to make our work more successful and will only enhance the creative process.”

As Diageo scaled its investment into digital marketing, it noticed that consumer attention and algorithms increasingly dictated the success of ads on these platforms. A great ad that was not fit for the platform it was intended for was unlikely to be seen, let alone perform.

So Diezhandino enlisted CreativeX, a company that builds creative data platforms for brands, to review the effectiveness of its digital content before it is delivered. (CreativeX was also behind Nestle’s ambitious plan to put all its creative through artificial intelligence.)

The first step was to run its marketing assets through CreativeX to generate a Creative Quality Score (CQS), an industry metric that measures an image or video’s suitability for each platform it is intended for. Then, Diageo could measure the media investment behind content that wasn’t suited to its platform to find the biggest areas for improvement. Once problem areas were discovered and best pratices written, any new ad could be checked to find out whether it is suited to the platform before any media spend is put behind it.

CreativeX now analyzes and optimizes creative for Diageo every three minutes, meaning it has an always-on AI integration. “The beauty of working with this tech is that you learn from your experience very quickly and reapply those learnings,” says Diezhandino.

Diageo then took that creative data and plugged it into its media data to measure exactly how the different creative decisions were impacting the media efficiency and the CPMs it was paying to reach consumers on digital media. Its first half year results for 2022 found that using CreativeX helped reduce the cost of 1,000 digital ad views by 50%.

“We have many examples of addressing some of the simple basics and the performance of the content is substantially different, which is fantastic,” says Diezhandino. “We will continue expanding the application of AI.”

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Making a business case

CreativeX chief executive and founder Anastasia Leng was surprised at how quickly Diageo managed to get its staff behind the tech. “Diageo is a big organization, it’s global and it has challenges around how you get everyone moving in the same direction.”

From Leng’s experience, there are local teams that are experts in their market and global teams that implement on scale, and those relationships can make or break how successful the deployment of new technology is. “One of the really unique things about Diageo is the collaboration between those local and global teams and a mutual respect for each other that got the deployment of new technology and AI to happen very quickly,” she says.

Rather than telling its marketers ’here is a new piece of tech, go and use it,’ Leng says: ”Diageo sold CreativeX by saying, ’the cost of production is rising, the volume of content is rising, we need to get more agile, we need to extract more data out of the content we’re producing here. Do we all agree that these are problems we want to solve?’” Once the answer to those questions was ’yes’, Diageo then said AI is the solution.

For more on the latest happenings in AI, web3 and other cutting-edge technologies, check out The Drum’s latest Deep Dive – AI to Web3: the Tech Takeover. And don’t forget to sign up for The Emerging Tech Briefing newsletter.

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