In a move that may unnerve copywriters across the advertising industry, JP Morgan Chase has announced that it has struck a five-year deal with a tech firm whose AI-generated marketing copy is said to be more effective than that written by humans.

America’s largest bank and New York-based Persado said in a statement that they have been working together for the past three years on a pilot to create more resonate copy for Chase’s card and mortgage businesses.

Tests showed that copy generated by Persado’s AI technology lifted click-through rates as much as 450% versus manually written copy, which resulted in a lower uptick of between 50% to 200%.

Persado’s “Message Machine” system uses AI, machine learning and computational linguistics to scan a database of more than one million tagged and scored words and phrases to find the ones that connect best with consumers.

“We put Persado to the test in various channels, products and services and are highly impressed with the results,” said Abeer Bhatia, head of marketing growth and innovation for Chase Card Services.

“Not only did they drive better marketing performance, but they created language that resonates more with our customers,” he added.

In one test, human copywriters came up with the headline “Access cash from the equity in your home” coupled with a “take a look” call for action button. This generated 25 applications a week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

However, a Persado AI version generated 47 applications a week with the headline “It’s true – You can unlock cash from the equity in your home” and a suggestion to “click to apply”.

“Persado’s technology is incredibly promising. It rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgement and their experience, likely wouldn’t have. And they worked,” said Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JP Morgan Chase.

“We think this is just the beginning. We hope to use Persado not just in marketing, but in our internal communications to make things more relevant to employees, as well as in our customer service prompts.”

While the development may sound some alarm bells among creatives, at least one leading industry observer said that machine-driven copy is likely to be assigned only to specific marketing disciplines.

In comments reported by the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Van Aken, a senior consultant at Ogilvy Group, said: “For things like TV ads or a brand campaign or general awareness, that’s an area where people are going to be hesitant because language is so nuanced. You think about Nike and ‘Just do it’ – it means so many things to so many people”.

Sourced from JP Morgan Chase, Persado, Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff