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IBM Wants You to Know That AI Is Not Futuristic -- It's Here Now

New TV Ads Show How Cognitive and Cloud Are Changing the World

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IBM is launching new TV ads this week during the U.S. Open, showing how artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing are technologies that are here today and transforming businesses.

The tech giant is rolling out six new ads under two separate campaigns: "Watson in the World" for its artificial intelligence, or cognitive computing technology; and "IBM Cloud" for its cloud platform systems.

"We want to position IBM as a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, and show examples of how IBM is working with real clients today," said Ann Rubin, VP-branded content and global creative at IBM.

"All businesses are becoming digital businesses with a strong cognitive element," she said. "With digital intelligence, you can do things you have never done before, and we are trying to show that in these spots."

The ads were created by Ogilvy and Mather, and will run on ESPN and ESPN2 during live coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

They carry the "Outthink" theme, which IBM began incorporating in its advertising last October.

The three "Watson in the World" ads all feature IBM clients, and demonstrate that artificial intelligence is not a futuristic concept but is currently working in the world.

"We really want people to understand that Watson is at work in lots of industries with lots of different professionals, bringing a layer of cognitive into their companies so they can be more competitive," Ms. Rubin said.

"We believe AI, or cognitive computing, will be added to everything from products to supply chains to systems, increasing human ability."

One spot, called "Personalization," highlights several IBM clients that are using Watson technology to make the world more personal, from 1-800-Flowers helping customers find the right bouquet to the New York Genome Center working with doctors to make treatments as individual as DNA.

Another spot, called "Expertise," shows how Watson is working with fin-tech company Alpha Modus to forecast financial markets with five times more accuracy.

A third spot, called "Health," features IBM customer Medtronic, which is using Watson technology to help people with diabetes identify potential problems hours in advance.

The commercials are narrated by a computerized voice that personifies Watson. At the end of the "Expertise" spot, the voice says, "Hello, my name is Watson, and working together we can outthink anything."

The three ads in the "IBM Cloud" campaign also use real IBM customers.

One spot, called "Visible," features IBM customer Whirlpool, and shows how it's using IBM Cloud to interpret IoT data from connected appliances to find out how customers use their products.

The ad opens with a shot of engineers designing appliances, while a voiceover says, "When Whirlpool builds an appliance, they put everything they know into it. But once it's sold, there usually isn't a way to keep improving that product."

Then the spot zooms out to show people moving about in a high-tech kitchen. The voiceover says, "Today, Whirlpool can analyze IoT sensor data from connected appliances on the IBM Cloud."

"The team did a great job in terms of identifying a unique look [for the ads]," Ms. Rubin said. "You need to take ideas like the cloud and creatively make them as appealing as possible."

Two other ads in the "IBM Cloud" campaign feature customers including media company Refinery29 and WayBlazer, a cognitive recommendation engine for the travel industry, which are using cloud technology to grow their businesses and improve the customer experience.

The campaign will run across TV, online, print and social. The budget was undisclosed.

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