In January, HBO premiered The Young Pope, a series about a good-looking, hip guy who also is the first pontiff from the United States. To promote the launch, BETC and Havas Cognitive, working on behalf of the client, the French premium cable channel Canal+, tried the usual – a sassy social media campaign.
But the execution wasn't your run-of-the-mill promotion. Instead, Havas Cognitive used IBM's Watson artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to scan Twitter for people discussing anything related to one or more of the seven deadly sins. Then the AI-enabled engine searched 39,000 verses in the Bible to find the most relevant missive and tweeted it back to the appropriate person, with a link to the show's website.
Ultimately, the system responded to more than 1 million tweets over the course of the campaign, all the while learning more about how to reply and getting better at offering the perfect quote. "It found people talking about touchy subjects and quoted the Bible back to them in a tongue-in-cheek way," says Marc Maleh, global director at Havas Cognitive. "People loved it."