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Digital Insights - 18 August 2023

Need to know

  • Threadbare? Meta’s struggling Twitter alternative

  • China to rein in on facial recognition, mobile apps and children’s use of tech

  • Women’s World Cup unleashes ad creativity


Women’s World Cup unleashes ad creativity

  • This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup has seen record-breaking numbers, with the Australia-England semifinal match seeing no less than 11.5m viewers in Australia, making it the most-watched TV broadcast in the country since 2001.

  • Advertisers are cashing in on the interest. Coca-Cola, for instance, released a digital ad campaign seeing negative comments about women’s football superimposed onto football pitches and then replaced with a positive statement refuting the claims.

  • Tourism Australia has been running the ‘Come and say g’day’ campaign to coincide with the event. After the Lionesses bested the Matildas this week, they released a tongue-in-cheek ad congratulating England and noting that at least holidays in Australia are unbeatable.

  • But the ad that probably generated the most interest? The Orange ad we flagged on 21 July that used AI to superimpose male French football stars over the women in highlight reels, challenging the notion that only men’s football is exciting.

Executive Leadership on Social Media

X’s Linda Yaccarino works to bring back advertisers

  • X's CEO Linda Yaccarino is taking steps to rebuild relationships with advertisers after Elon Musk acquired the platform formerly known as Twitter.

  • In a tweet, she announced that X is bringing back an exclusive group of marketing executives called the "client council" that used to meet regularly before Musk took over. The council stopped meeting after advertisers voiced concerns around brand safety under Musk's leadership last November.

  • Yaccarino is on a charm offensive, having success enticing some brands, including Mondelez, Coca-Cola and Visa, to return and launching new brand safety controls. She has also connected with Hollywood talent agencies and celebrities.

  • However, some believe Musk's controversial behaviour and changes to content moderation could hurt her efforts. And notably, she was not included in the announcement about rebranding to X.

  • Reviving the invite-only council of advertisers and agencies is Yaccarino's latest move to provide assurances and try to boost ad revenue, which has dropped 50% since Musk acquired the platform.

Walmart’s CEO takes to LinkedIn on leadership changes

  • Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, took to his LinkedIn profile to announce the retirement of International CEO Judith McKenna and introduce her successor, complete his post with a selfie of the two of them in front of an Asda store.

  • His post highlights Judith McKenna's contributions over 27+ years, praising her leadership style and impact on associate compensation, education, and advancement, and reflecting on the time spent working with her.

  • Sharing the news personally with ample context shows the value of social media for C-suite executives communicating and engaging directly with employees, customers, and investors, something Doug McMillon has historically demonstrated a best-practice approach for.

Generative AI

AI-written travel guidebooks flood the market

  • A New York Times investigation has revealed a barrage of travel guidebooks that appear to be compiled using Artificial Intelligence and contain sham reviews.

  • Books like "France Travel Guide" by Mike Steves have risen to the top of Amazon search results but contain vague, repetitive text.

  • The guidebooks rely on a mix of AI text generators, fake author bios and stock photos, self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and the ability to solicit fake online reviews.

  • Well-known brands like Rick Steves, Frommer's, and Lonely Planet are still big sellers, but some worry "little bites" from the AI books are affecting sales. The faux books also often lack key safety information and have mistranslated or outdated advice that could mislead travellers.

  • Many of the 5-star reviews on the books also appear to be fake or nonsensical. While Amazon has policies against review manipulation, the books still maintain high ratings.

  • The situation in publishing underscores wider risks of AI being used to generate convincing but inaccurate or misleading content at scale.

Abrdn introduces its own AI chatbot

  • Global investment company and asset manager Abrdn has started onboarding employees to its in-house version of ChatGPT. The tool provides 95% complete drafts for investment reports.

  • Employees are encouraged to experiment with the tech to generate operational enhancements, without compromising proprietary data.

  • Firms are increasingly deploying AI for advising, reporting, translating and more, seeking to cut costs and complexity. Developing internal products also means they are more adapted to company use cases and offer far more security than off-the-shelf options like ChatGPT.

  • Following the pandemic, we’ve seen tech adoption accelerating, and investments in automation may rise as firms target manual tasks impacting margins.

Anthropic releases updated version of text-generating model, Claude Instant

  • Anthropic, one of OpenAI’s major competitors, has released Claude Instant 1.2, an updated version of its text-generating model.

  • Claude Instant 1.2 incorporates the strengths of Anthropic’s flagship model, Claude 2, and shows significant improvements in math, coding, reasoning, quote extraction, multilingual capabilities, and question answering compared to its predecessor. Anthropic claims that Claude Instant 1.2 is less prone to hallucination and more resistant to jailbreaking attempts.

  • Claude Instant 1.2 features a context window of 100,000 tokens (roughly the length of a novel), making it comparable to Claude 2. By comparison, OpenAI’s GPT-4 tops out at 32,000 tokens.

  • Anthropic’s customers and partners include platforms and tools such as Quora, DuckDuckGo, and Notion, and the startup is currently working to develop a next-gen algorithm for AI self-teaching.

  • The release follows a wider industry trend of releasing multiple versions of AI models to address varying market needs, as OpenAI does with its GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models.

Generative AI skills in high demand, attracting six-figure salaries

  • Recent data has confirmed that generative AI skills are in high demand, attracting six-figure salaries from tech giants and non-tech companies alike. This includes Amazon and Netflix, which are paying top dollar for professionals with those skills in a bid to stay competitive.

  • Indeed data shows that generative AI job listings have quadrupled since the beginning of 2021, with many companies offering salaries of $100k or more to find experienced candidates.

  • Even entry-level positions can command six-figure salaries, with companies like Meta and Nvidia advertising jobs for generative AI research roles.

  • While some industry experts worry about a potential skills shortage, many companies are recognising the potential of generative AI tools to improve products and boost productivity.

Threadbare? Meta’s Twitter alternative struggling

  • After an ambitious start where the fledgling platform saw 49m active users in one day (7 July), the number of daily active users on Threads, Meta’s alternative to Twitter, has drastically fallen to 11m.

  • Designed to be more family-friendly than Twitter, Threads is linked to users’ Instagram accounts and users are required to own an active Instagram account to access Threads. Much like Twitter, the platform is text-heavy and conversation-based but unlike the latter, it can only be accessed via mobile and lacks search functionality.

  • Whilst some brands were quick to flock to the platform, research from Adweek shows brands might be feeling the Threads fatigue as well: consumer companies including Wendy’s and Anthropologie have significantly reduced their posting frequency, indicating that they are likely not finding the platform worth the resource investment.

  • So whilst the potential cage fight between Zuck and Elon has not yet been scheduled, this is one arena where Elon is currently beating Zuck.

TikTok to go head-to-head with regional giants in SE Asia e-commerce drive

  • TikTok is expanding into the e-commerce business in Southeast Asia, where the company already has more than 325m monthly active users (nearly half the region's population).

  • CEO Shou Zi Chew has reportedly said the company would invest billions of dollars in Indonesia and the rest of the region over the next few years. To start, the company will pump in $12.2m over the next three years, he added, supporting more than 120,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region.

  • However, TikTok will be going up against homegrown rivals, such as Shopee, Lazada and Tokopedia, some of whom are backed by Chinese e-commerce titans Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

  • But the potential of the market seems to be worth the challenge – Southeast Asia is already one of the fastest growing economic regions globally, with a combined GDP approaching $4 trillion, and is expected to see a boom in its e-commerce businesses thanks to improved infrastructure and a growing digital economy.

China to rein in on facial recognition, mobile apps and children’s use of tech

  • China released draft rules to curb uses of facial recognition. The rules ban the use of the technology for identifying race, ethnicity, religious belief or health status—applications that haven’t been scientifically proven—unless a person has given consent or for the purposes of national security.

  • China will also require all mobile app providers in the country to file business details with the government. Experts say the move, primarily aimed at combating online fraud, would potentially restrict the number of apps and hit small developers hard.

  • The recently proposed new rules also cover young people, which require device makers, operating systems, apps and app stores to build out a new function called “minor mode” that will set time limits and curfews on usage, as well as create an age-based classification system for content.

Claims of NFT market collapse build amid ‘Bored Apes’ court case

  • As prices for NFTs plumet, investors are suing Sotheby’s, Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton among others over a 2021 auction and promotion of Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – a collection of 10,000 NFTs featuring unique cartoon apes with various accessories and features.

  • NFT prices surged in 2021, and The NFT collection benefitted from celebrity promotion, drawing new consumers into the crypto world. However, the alleged lawsuit now claims that the auction house “misleadingly promoted” to artificially inflate their prices, further accusing celebrities of promoting NFTs without disclosing their financial interests.

  • Sotheby’s stepped in to defend itself, stating that “the allegations in this suit are baseless, and Sotheby’s is prepared to vigorously defend itself.”

  • With encompassing NFTs and cryptocurrencies facing a downturn after a pandemic-driven boom, several cryptocurrency-related cases have entered the legal sphere recently, highlighting concerns about manipulation and fraud in the crypto industry, leading to increased regulatory scrutiny.

August 18, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
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