Cognitiv Goes OOH to Showcase the Power of AI

Cognitiv went big with its first brand campaign, showing agencies and brands the power of AI, using deep learning OOH technology from Billups. Justine Frostad, SVP of Marketing at Cognitiv, shares the details.

What prompted Cognitiv to launch their first brand campaign?

Cognitiv has been bringing the incredible power of deep learning to advertising since 2015, giving advertisers better outcomes and more time to focus on what lights them up professionally.  2023 was a major inflection point for AI, in both our industry and the wider world. As adoption of our ever-expanding Deep Learning Advertising Platform and advanced AI rapidly increases across the board, we felt it was the right time to focus on increasing brand awareness on a wider scale.

As Cognitiv’s offering has grown, we have been heavily focused on educating agencies and brands on the powerful, unique possibilities of advanced AI. Deep learning has the ability to predict consumer behavior, discover new customers and understand nuance. We have been spreading the word through content, as well as owned events like our cross-country Deep Learning Roadshow and Neural Networking series. This educational component has been a fundamental part of our strategy long before AI was the hot commodity it is today. 

With this particular awareness campaign, we are showcasing the possibilities and potential of deep learning. We wanted something that felt genuine, approachable, playful and ultimately more B2C than B2B. The campaign focus is depicting outcomes, not specific products. Our goal, with AI at center stage in our industry and globally, was to put ourselves out there in a bigger way and get creative with our messaging, visuals and, of course, media buys. 

How did Cognitiv decide on the audience and messaging for the campaign?

We did several third party brand audits in 2023, interviewing clients, partners, and prospects about the challenges and opportunities they currently face when it comes to discovering and authentically connecting with their customers.

A clear through-line in those interviews was the desire for more time – advertisers, specifically those on the media buying side – are constantly in the weeds. We found a deeper undercurrent behind their craving for more time – a desire to design their own days and essentially, as we understood it, reclaim their brains.

We took this finding and ran with it, thinking through how to represent the incredible things our current clients are achieving with the time they get back by advertising with deep learning. 

We focused on media buyers, marketers and agency executives as our target audience, exploring how to bring our concept to life in a way that would intrigue people and give them something visually interesting to take in during their commutes. 

We chose a few themes that reflected the specific things advertisers had expressed they wanted to do more of like finally clear out their inbox, strategize at a higher level, enjoy more collaboration with their teams, or attend more industry events. 

From there, we determined that the core message centered around the concept that advertising with deep learning gives you more – more time to do what lights you (and your brain) up while also helping you achieve and surpass your goals. 

We had a blast thinking through how to visually bring the campaign to life working with creative agency Manual Labor Studio, playing with how to tell a story with the “brain” at the center. We looked at categories including collaboration, responsiveness, transformation, and productivity to name a few. The aesthetic of the different brains we created for the campaign graphically represent the benefits that come from mental relief and clarity of an undistracted mind. The copy evolved into a play on our company name by dropping the “e” on our selected outcomes with ads like “More Collaborativ,” “More Responsiv,” “More Inventiv,” and “More Inclusiv.” 

What was unique about Billups’ approach?

This is our first out of home (OOH) campaign and Billups has been an incredible partner on that journey. They helped us think through how to effectively reach our agency prospects and clients throughout their day, specifically in NYC, from commuting to any between-meeting outdoor time. Now that many more people are back in-office at least a few days a week, leaning into that post pandemic shift made sense. 

We also were intentional about which creative to use for each OOH place and the timing of creative swaps. As we all transition into the beauty of spring in New York, you’ll see the creative blossom with the season change which is a fun, more subtle, element of activation.

What role has AI and deep learning played in the campaign’s development and launch to market? 

AI has been an essential part of this campaign from creative concept and execution to OOH and, of course, the use of our Deep Learning Advertising Platform to launch a high impact display campaign. Using AI in the creative process was particularly interesting for me because I got to see first-hand how it can be such a valuable partner on that journey from ideation to campaign creation. Manual Labor used AI for creative concepting and to build out 3-D animated imagery. Billups uses AI to determine the right media approach to reach audiences in the right locations during the right times of day. As an AI company, it was exciting to see how each of our partners used AI in a unique, yet equally impactful, way. 

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