Toyota is using artificial intelligence to push the environmentally-friendly Prius Prime on the Weather Channel app and weather.com.
Toyota is the first automaker to deploy Watson Ads, a cognitive ad format that meshes machine learning, natural language understanding and dialogue tools to engage consumers in one-to-one discussions at scale. IBM Watson can understand user intent, learn and reason to drive conversations, says Monica Fogg, product lead for Watson Ads.
Toyota launched the ads today.
The company is dabbling in the artificial intelligence space at a time when consumers are growing more comfortable using personal assistants such as Apple's Siri and Amazon Alexa.
In the auto world, Hyundai has empowered Alexa to remotely start vehicles and control locks if a person owns an Amazon Echo smart speaker. On the consumer education side, Kia uses artificial intelligence to tout its hybrid Niro crossover through a chat bot in Facebook Messenger. The "NiroBot" fields questions and links consumers to web pages to set up test drives and search inventory.
When consumers run across Toyota's Watson Ads, they can write a question or simply ask aloud. Watson is prepared to tackle an array of inquiries including, "How far can I go on one charge?"
It'll even go a step further for cross shoppers who ask how the Prius Prime compares to competing vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt. Watson will then come back with a list of benefits.
"The AI serves to enhance the conversation between the consumer and the brand. Consumers are already habituated to click on an ad to learn more about a brand and we're also habituated to chat," Fogg said. "We all text, we use social. We have a certain level of expectation of personalization in those experiences."
The first Watson Ads debuted last year.
Toyota's ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi has leveraged Watson before. The agency said IBM's personal assistant wrote thousands of ads for a recent Facebook campaign for the Mirai hydrogen vehicle.