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Beck's Creative Artificial Intelligence

5 of the best AI-powered food & drink ads


By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

February 20, 2024 | 7 min read

You might not automatically associate AI with the food and drink industry, but many brands across the sector have been quick to embrace the tech for marketing purposes. As part of The Drum’s Food & Drink Focus, we look at five of the best examples.

Lots of AI generated images of a ketchup bottle

Heinz asked AI model Dall-E 2 create a picture of a bottle of ketchup

As AI gains the attention of the world, it seems to have become a necessity for brands to prove that they’re using the technology in some capacity – if not in their back-end tech infrastructure, then at least in their marketing efforts.

Few industries have embraced AI-driven marketing as wholeheartedly as the food and beverage sector. At first glance, this might come as a surprise – after all, what do food and beverage products really have to do with neural networks, machine learning, large language models and all of the other various components of AI? Nonetheless, a cohort of food and beverage brands have rushed in to adopt this latest tech-powered marketing trend.

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Here are five ad campaigns from food and beverage brands that illustrate the ways in which this industry has been leaning into AI and AI-powered marketing:

1. Tropicana ‘Tropcn’

Tropicana ‘Tropcn’

Last month, Tropicana distributed bottles of orange juice at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that were labeled ‘Tropcn’ – the brand’s name minus the ‘A’ and the ‘I’s. The stunt was intended not to denigrate AI – which was the dominant theme at the conference – but rather to help position Tropicana as a brand that uses all-natural ingredients. “While AI has its role in the world, Tropicana believes there’s no place for artificial in orange juice,” Tropicana’s head of integrated marketing communications, Julia Low, told The Drum at the time.

2. Beck’s ‘Autonomous’

Becks Autonomous

German beer brand Beck’s celebrated its 150th-anniversary last year with a limited-edition beer packaging design and an accompanying marketing campaign, both of which were created with the assistance of AI. The project began with the brand’s marketing team asking ChatGPT to create the outline of a campaign to celebrate the occasion. With human oversight at every step along the way, the team then proceeded to use ChatGPT to flesh out the marketing and media plans driving the campaign and the text-to-image generator Midjourney to design the packaging for the new beer.

3. Heinz ‘AI Ketchup’

In 2021, Heinz asked people around the world to draw bottles of ketchup. What it hoped for, and what it ultimately received, was a wave of hand-drawn submissions that closely resembled bottles of Heinz. The following year, the brand asked the AI model Dall-E 2 to do the same thing – to create a picture of a bottle of ketchup. Unprompted, the model’s outputs also closely resembled Heinz, demonstrating that both people and machines tend to associate the brand with the very concept of ketchup.

4. Coca-Cola ‘Create Real Magic’

Coca-Cola launched a partnership last February with OpenAI and consulting management firm Bain & Company aimed at integrating OpenAI’s technology into Coke’s marketing strategy and other business operations. “We are excited to unleash the next generation of creativity offered by this rapidly emerging technology,” James Quincey, Coca-Cola Company chairman and chief executive officer James Quincey said in a statement following the announcement of the partnership.

The following month, Coke announced a contest called ‘Create Real Magic,’ challenging artists to create new marketing assets for the brand using Dall-E 2 and ChatGPT for a chance to have their work featured on Coke’s Times Square and Piccadilly Circus billboards.

5. Bodyarmor ‘Field of Fake’

Like Tropicana, sports drink brand Bodyarmor recently launched a marketing campaign that sought to tap into the cultural excitement percolating around AI while simultaneously distancing the brand from the notion of artificiality.

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In ‘Field of Fake,’ a 30-second spot that aired during the Super Bowl, Bodyarmor used generative AI to create a comically awkward and unsettling visual representation of a football game – it looks more like the depiction of a terrifying LSD trip than photorealistic footage – along with a comparably bizarre script. The brand wasn’t showing off the capabilities of AI; rather, it included the nightmarish sequence in order to make the point, as a narrator says in the ad, that “nothing in sports should be artificial.”

From fast food to sloe gin, the food & drink space is massively appetizing to marketers. Join us as we dig into some of the sector’s biggest trends during The Drum’s Food & Drink Focus.

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