By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

December 8, 2023 | 3 min read

The new ad, created by BBDO, seeks to refocus attention away from the flashiness of AI and toward the technology’s practical business applications.

Generative AI exploded on to the cultural scene in 2023. Many of us oohed and aahed at its ability to create fluid prose, generate photorealistic images, and write code, among other uses. The sudden rise of the technology – sparked in large measure by the November 2022 release of ChatGPT – has caused many people to reconsider their understanding of the power and peril presented by AI.

With AI hype in full swing over the past several months, brands have rushed in to capitalize on the technology. But now that we’ve rounded the one-year anniversary of ChatGPT and AI is starting to feel less like a science fiction concept and more like just another tool in our creative toolkit, many businesses are likely asking themselves: How can we actually, practically leverage this technology in our day-to-day operations?

A new ad from German software giant SAP aims to start answering that very question.

The video spot, created by BBDO and promoting SAP’s Business AI software, features an animated cat painted in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night – just the sort of viral image created by Midjourney or Dall-E 2 that one might have recently seen going viral on social media. After acknowledging its own impressive appearance, the AI-generated cat asks in a suave British accent: “But what about AI that does something useful?”

It then prances around a series of workplace environments, naming some concrete applications of AI that can be found in each. (Notifying a warehouse worker about an impending supply shortage, for example.) “AI that makes your business stronger helps you make decisions faster and makes your people even better,” the cat tells us, perhaps subtly trying to assuage fears among SAP’s clients that AI will replace their human employees.

The new video spot hints at a slow shift that seems to be taking place around AI in mainstream consciousness: The technology is transforming from (depending on your outlook) the best or scariest thing that humanity has ever invented to simply being an almost mundane part of everyday professional life; AI hype is, it seems, slowly being tempered by reality. This phenomenon was also on full display at this week’s AI Summit in New York.

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