I asked ChatGPT to write a viral Super Bowl commercial. Here's what an advertising pro thought of the AI script.
- AI took on ads for a generic beer commercial, a Lexus, and chicken-flavored Skittles.
- I pitched three AI-generated scripts to an advertising pro. They didn't quite meet his standards.
The biggest advertising day of the year is upon us, and with AI making waves across creative industries, it raises the question: Does a chatbot have what it takes to write a commercial worthy of the big game?
To find out, I asked ChatGPT to script three Super Bowl commercials, giving a different level of direction in each prompt — then I ran the scripts by a creative director to see if any would make it through a pitch meeting at an advertising company.
Max Eastman is a creative director at Mekanism, an ad agency that often works on Super Bowl commercials. In fact, Eastman used AI to put together a teaser for two Alaska Airlines Super Bowl commercials set to run in San Francisco and Seattle during the game.
He was counting on the tech's off-kilter writing style for humor. "It was delightfully inhuman," Eastman told Insider in an interview this week. "It made us laugh because it felt like a computer wrote it."
When he took a look at the three commercials ChatGPT wrote, Eastman said they all seemed to be lacking nuance and a creative touch.
The most generic beer commercial of all time
For my first commercial, I asked ChatGPT to "write me a beer commercial that would run during the Super Bowl."
It returned a script for a commercial set in a tavern, with a group of friends musing over the Super Bowl and beer at a bar.
"This is the perfect beer for the Super Bowl," ChatGPT wrote as a line for one of the characters.
"It's crisp, refreshing, and goes down easy," a second character replies.
Eastman said the script fell well short of his expectations. "It feels like an amalgamation of every beer commercial ever made," he said. "But also written by an alien."
He added that the chatbot tended to create dialogue that felt like it was missing nuances of how people speak to one another.
"I think it turns me away," Eastman said. "It feels just kind of cold and uninteresting."
The cast of 'Succession' sells a luxury SUV
Next up, I asked ChatGPT to "write me a funny Super Bowl commercial for the newest Lexus SUV, starring the cast of 'Succession.'"
I got back a script that identified the main cast of "Succession" by name, and that seemed to grasp the dramatic, but satirical, tone of the show. The commercial takes place in a Lexus, with most of the main cast members explaining its features.
Still, the dialogue felt out of character in many ways, and tended to lean a little too heavily on a contrived pitch for the car.
"Gentlemen, this is it. The Lexus SUV that will take us to the top. Or as I like to call it, our new 'royal carriage,'" the chatbot wrote for Logan Roy, who Brian Cox plays.
"But Dad, I thought we already had a royal carriage. It's called a Rolls-Royce," Kendall Roy, Logan's son, who Jeremy Strong plays, replies.
Just like the beer commercial, Eastman told me this script seemed generic. "It almost hits 'funny,' but then becomes so silly that it loses any authenticity," Eastman said.
Additionally, he said the Lexus script only seemed interesting because Insider gave the AI a more interesting prompt.
"I think what works about this is your premise, but that came from you," he told me. "I don't think what ChatGPT created is necessarily interesting itself."
A Skittles commercial that almost hits the mark
Last up, I asked ChatGPT to "write me a viral and crazy Super Bowl commercial for a candy of your choosing."
This time, I got a script that actually felt like it could have been written by a person. The AI adhered to Skittles' typical absurdist sense of humor in its advertising — pitching chicken-flavored candy.
"The scene cuts to a montage of people trying the new Skittles Chicken flavor and reacting with a mixture of disbelief and excitement," ChatGPT wrote. "Some are shown making chicken noises, others are shown doing the chicken dance. The montage ends with the camera cutting back to the farmer, who's now surrounded by a group of chickens pecking at the Skittles."
Eastman said this commercial was the best of the lot.
"This one does the best job of creating something unexpected and creative," he said. "When you start adding words like 'crazy' and 'viral' or 'absurd' maybe you're giving more license to be creative."
Still, Eastman said he has no worries about his job as artificial intelligence expands into creative spaces. He said there's no real replacement for smart people who can mimic the nuances of human dialogue and behavior.
"I don't think it will ever replace human creatives," Eastman said. "And ironically, what I just said is the exact reason we used it for Alaska Airlines."