IBM launches AI online advertising offering with Watson Ads

IBM launches AI online advertising offering with Watson Ads
Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at

Marketers will be able to rethink their strategies and use the power of cognition and machine learning to improve their advertising with the announcement of Watson Ads, it’s claimed.

Launched in conjunction with IBM business The Weather Company, Watson Ads is claimed to be an industry first capability in which consumers will be able to use the power of IBM’s Watson cognitive technology through advertising.

The move also marks the first consumer use of IBM Watson technology in the sector.

In its initial use, The Weather Company will work with Campbell Soup, Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare. Customers viewing a Watson Ad will be able to ask Watson questions via voice or text about the product or offering and receive accurate responses due to Watson’s machine learning and natural language capabilities.

What’s for dinner?

For example, a customer wanting to know what to make for dinner Watson could suggest ingredient and flavour profiles to recommend dishes based on the weather, time of day, location and ingredients owned by the consumer – all surfaced via dynamic ads.

The technology is claimed to offer a number of campaign benefits – including better understanding brand perception and favourability and helping marketers use data more effectively.

“The dawn of cognitive advertising is truly a watershed moment,” said Domenic Venuto, general manager, consumer products, The Weather Company.

“Now as part of IBM, we have even more tools and technologies at our disposal to inspire innovations within advertising, artificial intelligence and storytelling,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity to expose consumers to all of the surprising and delightful experiences that Watson has in store for them – and to make advertising a truly valuable interaction.”

The company will also create the Watson Ads Council – a body who will work closely with a team of marketers who will become a sounding board for Watson ads and cognitive advertising in general.


The AI Expo world series brings together developers and enterprises to examine the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can drive business in 2017 and beyond. Find out more here.

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