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The Drum | Hendrick’s Gin Plays On AI Marketing Mania With ‘Chat G&T’

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The Drum | Hendrick’s Gin Plays On AI Marketing Mania With ‘Chat G&T’

The drinks brand is leaning into humor and good-old-fashioned human fallibility as a growing number of companies seek to wow audiences with the capabilities of ChatGPT and other “generative AI” models.

Hendrick’s Gin is hoping to catch a buzz on the generative AI boom with a new social media marketing effort called “Chat G&T,” a play on the name of the immensely popular text-generating AI model ChatGPT.

At a time when a slew of brands – including Snap, Instacart and Expedia – are capitalizing on the rise of ChatGPT with their own AI-powered chatbot integrations, Hendrick’s is taking a different approach: Rather than trying to impress fans with the much-publicized linguistic abilities of OpenAI’s GPT-4 – the latest iteration of the large language model which undergirds ChatGPT – the Scottish gin company is going for laughs.

The new marketing campaign – which will run at 12pm ET today on the brand’s US Instagram account – will consist of “Elliot,” who’s described in a statement from Hendrick’s Gin as “a five-year university student who obtained his knowledge via diverse life experiences and a fair amount of unchartered traveling.”

In contrast to the highly articulate and polished responses for which ChatGPT has become known, it seems likely that Elliott’s responses to user questions will be a bit more outlandish. And he will, of course, be sipping on a Hendrick’s G&T throughout the Instagram Live event.

“While not the most efficient chatting service, we believe Elliot is the most tasteful,” the brand said in the statement. “Whether regaling you with jokes, belting out your favorite lullaby while advising you on cocktail pairings or telling you what the capital city of Tuvalu is, chatting with Elliot is to be best enjoyed with your very own Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic in hand.”

Hendrick’s is playing on another trope of the burgeoning ChatGPT-fueled marketing extravaganza by highlighting Elliot’s shortcomings. In recent months, brands launching their ownAI-related campaigns will typically issue some kind of warning about the possibility of “hallucination” – that is, the tendency for AI models to unexpectedly veer from their training data and generate inaccurate or bizarre responses. Elliot, like most slightly inebriated college students the world over, is apparently also prone to his own kind of hallucination: “Is not always right,” warns an image from Hendrick’s new campaign outlining Eliot’s “limitations.”

He has also been “trained to avoid politics” (another play on AI lingo) and is “allergic to cats.”

Eliot’s “capabilities,” according to the same campaign image, in some ways fall far short of those of AI and in others exceed well beyond them. He may not be able to provide a cogent explanation of quantum mechanics in the style of William Shakespeare – a task in which ChatGPT would undoubtedly excel – but he “can carve a cucumber into something somewhat resembling a porpoise.” (Cucumbers, a common G&T garnish, are a recurring theme in Hendrick’s social media marketing.)

At the moment, many marketers are in the “ooh-aah” phase of their relationships with generative AI models. That’s perfectly understandable; these technologies are quite new, impressive and rapidly improving. But the new campaign from Hendrick’s – silly and short-lived though it might be – offers an intriguing glimpse into a potential reversal in strategy that could occur as the marketing world inevitably becomes oversaturated with AI-powered campaigns and gimmicks: As the age of AI progresses, maybe it will be the human quirks that we’ve so long taken for granted – like allergies and a talent for carving animals out of fruit – that more and more brands will start to celebrate.

For more on the latest happening in AI, web3 and other cutting-edge technologies, sign up for The Emerging Tech Briefing newsletter here.

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Walmart says it has stopped advertising on Elon Musk’s X platform

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Walmart says it has stopped advertising on Elon Musk's X platform

Walmart said Friday that it is scaling back its advertising on X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, because “we’ve found some other platforms better for reaching our customers.”

Walmart’s decision has been in the works for a while, according to a person familiar with the move. Yet it comes as X faces an advertiser exodus following billionaire owner Elon Musk’s support for an antisemitic post on the platform. 

The retailer spends about $2.7 billion on advertising each year, according to MarketingDive. In an email to CBS MoneyWatch, X’s head of operations, Joe Benarroch, said Walmart still has a large presence on X. He added that the company stopped advertising on X in October, “so this is not a recent pausing.”

“Walmart has a wonderful community of more than a million people on X, and with a half a billion people on X, every year the platform experiences 15 billion impressions about the holidays alone with more than 50% of X users doing most or all of their shopping online,” Benarroch said.

Musk struck a defiant pose earlier this week at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit, where he cursed out advertisers that had distanced themselves from X, telling them to “go f— yourself.” He also complained that companies are trying to “blackmail me with advertising” by cutting off their spending with the platform, and cautioned that the loss of big advertisers could “kill” X.

“And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company,” Musk added.


Elon Musk faces backlash from lawmakers, companies over endorsement of antisemitic X post

02:23

Dozens of advertisers — including players such as Apple, Coca Cola and Disney — have bailed on X since Musk tweeted that a post on the platform that claimed Jews fomented hatred against White people, echoing antisemitic stereotypes, was “the actual truth.”

Advertisers generally shy away from placing their brands and marketing messages next to controversial material, for fear that their image with consumers could get tarnished by incendiary content. 

The loss of major advertisers could deprive X of up to $75 million in revenue, according to a New York Times report

Musk said Wednesday his support of the antisemitic post was “one of the most foolish” he’d ever posted on X. 

“I am quite sorry,” he said, adding “I should in retrospect not have replied to that particular post.”

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US Judge Blocks Montana’s Effort to Ban TikTok

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U.S. Judge Blocks Montana’s Effort to Ban TikTok in the State

TikTok has won another reprieve in the U.S., with a district judge blocking Montana’s effort to ban the app for all users in the state.

Back in May, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation to ban TikTok outright from operating in the state, in order to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by China. There’s no definitive evidence that TikTok is, or has participated in such, but Gianforte opted to move to a full ban, going further than the government device bans issued in other regions.

As explained by Gianforte at the time:

The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented. Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

In response, a collection of TikTok users challenged the proposed ban, arguing that it violated their first amendment rights, which led to this latest court challenge, and District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to stop Montana’s ban effort.

Montana’s TikTok ban had been set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

In issuing a preliminary injunction to stop Montana from imposing a full ban on the app, Molloy said that Montana’s legislation does indeed violate the Constitution and “oversteps state power.”

Molloy’s judgment is primarily centered on the fact that Montana has essentially sought to exercise foreign policy authority in enacting a TikTok ban, which is only enforceable by federal authorities. Molloy also noted that there was apervasive undertone of anti-Chinese sentiment” within Montana’s proposed legislation.

TikTok has welcomed the ruling, issuing a brief statement in response:

Montana attorney general, meanwhile, has said that it’s considering next steps to advance its proposed TikTok ban.

The news is a win for TikTok, though the Biden Administration is still weighing a full TikTok ban in the U.S., which may still happen, even though the process has been delayed by legal and legislative challenges.

As I’ve noted previously, my sense here would be that TikTok won’t be banned in the U.S. unless there’s a significant shift in U.S.-China relations, and that relationship is always somewhat tense, and volatile to a degree.

If the U.S. government has new reason to be concerned, it may well move to ban the app. But doing so would be a significant step, and would prompt further response from the C.C.P.

Which is why I suspect that the U.S. government won’t act, unless it feels that it has to. And right now, there’s no clear impetus to implement a ban, and stop a Chinese-owned company from operating in the region, purely because of its origin.

Which is the real crux of the issue here. A TikTok ban is not just banning a social media company, it’s blocking cross-border commerce, because the company is owned by China, which will remain the logic unless clear evidence arises that TikTok has been used as a vector for gathering information on U.S. citizens.

Banning a Chinese-owned app because it is Chinese-owned is a statement, beyond concerns about a social app, and the U.S. is right to tread carefully in considering how such a move might impact other industries.

So right now, TikTok is not going to be banned, in Montana, or anywhere else in the U.S. But that could still change, very quickly.



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EU wants to know how Meta tackles child sex abuse

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The investigation is the first step in procedures launched under the EU's new online content law known as the Digital Services Act

The investigation is the first step in procedures launched under the EU’s new online content law known as the Digital Services Act – Copyright AFP Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

The EU on Friday demanded Instagram-owner Meta provide more information about measures taken by the company to address child sexual abuse online.

The request for information focuses on Meta’s risk assessment and mitigation measures “linked to the protection of minors, including regarding the circulation of self-generated child sexual abuse material (SG-CSAM) on Instagram”, the European Commission said.

Meta must also give information about “Instagram’s recommender system and amplification of potentially harmful content”, it added.

The investigation is the first step in procedures launched under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), but does not itself constitute an indication of legal violations or a move towards punishment.

Meta must respond by December 22.

A report by Stanford University and the Wall Street Journal in June this year said Instagram is the main platform used by paedophile networks to promote and sell content showing child sexual abuse.

Meta at the time said it worked “aggressively” to fight child exploitation.

The commission has already started a series of investigations against large digital platforms seeking information about how they are complying with the DSA.

It has sought more information from Meta in October about the spread of disinformation as well as a request for information last month about how the company protects children online.

The DSA is part of the European Union’s powerful regulatory armoury to bring big tech to heel, and requires digital giants take more aggressive action to counter the spread of illegal and harmful content as well as disinformation.

Platforms face fines that can go up to six percent of global turnover for violations.

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