To mark the launch of the ES luxury hybrid electric saloon, whose features respond to the driver, Lexus has released the first emotionally intelligent advert, that responds to a viewer’s emotions. The innovative film experience is the latest evolution in Lexus advertising, using facial recognition technology to read, adapt to and even influence viewers’ emotions while they are watching.
This pioneering “Feel Your Best” personalised advertising experience can be viewed here: https://www.lexus.eu/car-models/es/#ai-experience
The 30-second advert, created by facial recognition specialists MorphCast, features a unique, patented “Emotional AI” (Artificial Intelligence) technology that uses the camera on the viewer’s device to read and analyse facial expressions. As the viewer engages with the AI, depending on their perceived emotional state, the advertisement responds with visual and musical content changes. For example, the pace of the edit accelerates or decelerates, music gets either lively or calming, colours become more or less vibrant, and montages with “emotion sequences” are introduced.
While watching, the viewer has full freedom to react to the AI content by changing facial expressions, causing the content to adapt and react instantly. Each “scan point” along the storyline triggers a different edit from the AI, combining campaign material and hand-selected footage approved by a panel of psychologists. There is a total of 3,125 possible content combinations.
The emotionally intelligent advert mirrors some of the features found in the new Lexus ES that recognise and respond to the driver, such as the Climate Concierge which creates a perfect cabin climate by automatically controlling the seat and steering wheel heaters and seat ventilation, in synergy with the air-conditioning system. Lexus Climate Concierge also features an updated nanoeTM X system which discharges mildly acidic nano ions to combat dry skin.
Drawing on these features for inspiration, the advert will attempt to shift viewers’ emotions using multiple levels of audio-visual stimulation, reflecting the sum of all the things that make you “Feel Your Best” in the ES.
The campaign was brought to life by award-winning global production partner Unit9, a specialist team of innovation architects, software engineers and creatives, together with a hand-picked panel of psychologists and scientists.
Led by design specialist Prof Mohammad Soleymani, whose research involves developing automatic emotion recognition and behaviour understanding methods using psychological signals and facial expressions, the panel helped develop and hone the audiovisual content to elicit an emotional response from the viewer. The panel also included input from Germany-based colour psychologist Prof Dr Axel Buether, and the Founder of IV Audio Branding, Steve Keller, who is a leading expert on the impact of sound on human emotion.
Spiros Fotinos, Director of Lexus Europe, commented: “We’re excited to share this innovative experience with audiences worldwide. As consumers are seeking more personalised experiences from brands, we wanted to explore the use of AI to make advertising that responds to the viewer. It’s a first step to show how small, real-time changes to the ad can have a positive impact on how you feel. This logic is also present in the Lexus ES which provides exceptional levels of comfort by controlling a series of sensorial factors. So there is a natural synergy between product and campaign – the advert responds to the viewer’s emotions just as the car responds to the driver’s behaviour and needs.”
Prof. Soleymani, Affective Computing Expert, said: “Now more than ever we’re noticing the impact that image, colour and sound can have on a viewer’s emotions. These findings are certainly not new, but they are becoming increasingly relevant with the advances and developments in the field of emotional AI. In our day-to-day lives, we are bombarded by an array of audio-visual stimulation that impacts our emotional states, so it’s both refreshing and reassuring that an iconic brand like Lexus is exploring the possibility of bespoke content that aims to leave viewers feeling more positive than they did at the start.”
Zlaten del Castillo of Unit9 said: “When we were approached with the request to develop the technology for a one-of-a-kind advertisement that utilises state-of-the-art facial recognition software, we knew instantly that it was a challenge we couldn’t turn down. In 2021, we’re still at the beginning of the journey into the possibilities that AI can help us achieve; and given our previous work with Lexus in the field, we couldn’t wait to be involved in making history with the brand for a second time.”