Havas Teams Up With IBM’s Watson to Help Brands Leverage Artificial Intelligence Data

TD Ameritrade and Adidas begin testing

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Havas Group has been working with IBM for over 20 years now (early on Havas was one of the founding members of IBM's Marketing Innovation Group and an early Watson Ecosystem partner), but the relationship is continuing to evolve, with a new practice designed to help brands tap into artificial intelligence data and use it more effectively. TD Ameritrade and Adidas have been early pioneers of the technology, called Havas Cognitive.

In the past, Havas has worked more closely with IBM as a client, but the new initiative represents more of a partnership between IBM and the Havas Group. The partnership came about when the two companies realized that they could create a real game-changing product for clients if they worked together. IBM brought the deep C-suite relationships with CIOs and CTOs, while Havas brought to the table deep C-suite relationships with Fortune 100 CMOs and CEOs, Andrew Benett, global CEO, Havas Worldwide and Havas Creative Group, told Adweek. 

"We came to the conclusion together that the combination of our business in brand acumen and their business in technology acumen is an incredibly potent pairing," Benett said.

TD Ameritrade worked with Havas Cognitive late last year, creating the very first cognitive marketing program with the product. The brand used Havas Cognitive technology and social listening for a promotion which searched for the most confident football fans on social media. The technology was able to develop an algorithm and assigned confidence scores to fans on social media and ultimately determined the most confident ones out there.

"Part of the relationship we have with IBM in this venture gives us unparalleled access to the Watson APIs. For our clients it's almost a running start into cognitive marketing," Benett said.

Adidas and Red Bull are also working with Havas Cognitive. While details are still scarce, Benett noted that both companies are using the program to develop products and services that are Watson-empowered.  

The announcement comes on the heels of a number of agency partnerships on IBM's end. IBM recently purchased European interactive agencies Aperto and ecx.io and creative shop Resource/Ammirati.

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.