JPMorgan Chase says it will begin using am AI to write marketing copy for greater efficiency. The Gonzberg Agency’s Evan Berglund questions the logic.

I keep encountering this story about how JPMorgan Chase is basing a major business bet on AI using CTR as a KPI to justify their decision. Can this be true in 2019? Only the quantity of click-throughs matters, not the quality of the prospects?

Back in late July JPMorgan Chase announced a five-year, enterprise-wide deal with an AI marketing firm, billed as “the leader in using AI to generate the highest performing marketing creative.” The announcement goes on to say that the firm “uses AI to generate more effective marketing copy. In its pilot, Chase saw as high as a 450% lift in click-through rates on ads rendered by Persado.”

The pitch bought by JPMorgan Chase apparently was this: “Persado is reinventing marketing creative by applying mathematical certainty to words, the foundational DNA of Marketing. By unlocking the power of words, companies win every marketing moment, experiencing dramatic new levels of brand engagement and revenue performance. CMOs from the world’s most valuable brands rely on Persado to generate marketing creative in a dramatically new way to unlock the power of words and emotionally engage consumers, one by one, moment by moment at scale.”

It continues: “The Persado Message Machine uses sophisticated AI, data science, computational linguistics and machine learning to generate the perfect message for every campaign by leveraging the world’s most advanced marketing language knowledgebase of more than one million tagged and scored words and phrases. Marketers gain full visibility with quantifiable results and data-driven insights to identify the trends and marketing language that wins every moment in the customer journey while ensuring the marketing message always reinforces brand voice.”

The only proof offered of this wordy applesauce – which I think we can assume was written by a machine, and not a human – is that JPMorgan Chase has increased click-through rates.

The example used to demonstrate how AI writes better copy than humans is this: “Access cash from the equity in your home” (written by humans). The more successful version, according to JPMorgan Chase, reads “It’s true—You can unlock cash from the equity in your home” (written by AI).

So, they go from a straightforward message to people who might actually have equity in their home, to addressing first time home buyers who may, or may not, have any equity to tap into, and, therefore, haven’t really thought about this option yet.

While this would be a legitimate change in strategy for any CMO who wants to cast the net wider – by initiating a customer journey, rather than tapping into the later phases of the journey – it’s really no different than changing from “It’s time to buy that Ferrari” to “It’s true—We can get you into that Ferrari.” (The first attracting middle-aged men having the means to buy a Ferrari, with the second version attracting those wishing they could.)

Or, perhaps more relevant to banking, “It’s true—Bad credit and income don’t matter, we can get you into that home.”

Again, please tell those of us out here, who have been around the advertising block a few times, that the CMO of JPMorgan Chase understands that what their new shiny marketing AI firm is offering, isn’t so much a change in copy, as it is a change of strategy. And, also, please tell us that someone over at JPMorgan Chase understands the difference between quantity and quality of prospects.

Many of us have a hard enough time, as it is, getting acceptance of this simple fact by clients, and we really don’t need JPMorgan Chase’s use of AI to legitimize desperate click-through chasing…