IBM Watson Is Your Overachieving Co-worker in New Slate of Ads

Campaign shows how AI makes businesses more efficient

The ads show how Watson is used in business. IBM
Headshot of Christine Birkner

By helping humanize the power of IBM technology and artificial intelligence, IBM Watson has become the cornerstone of the brand’s marketing efforts. Lately, that’s included Watson ad campaigns with celebrities like Bob Dylan and Stephen King, as well as collaborations with fashion house Marchesa and H&R Block.

Watson’s new round of ads puts a more practical spin on AI by showing how the technology can help meet day-to-day business objectives.

The “Watson at Work” campaign, created with Ogilvy, has eight new TV spots and social content to highlight Watson’s role in industries like energy, medicine, aviation, insurance adjusting, elevator repair and winemaking.

In one ad, the talking Watson interface is the “new guy” at work, helping a Kone maintenance man predict future elevator malfunctions. In another, Watson is the enthusiastic insurance claims adjuster who’s psyched about attending the company picnic, much to his cubicle neighbor’s chagrin. In a third, he shows a winemaker at E. & J. Gallo how to use 25 percent less water to grow better grapes.

“AI isn’t science fiction, it’s happening in business and industries today, and it’s working alongside people in businesses,” said Ann Rubin, vp of branded content and global creative at IBM. “That’s what we’re trying to show—how it’s applied to real situations, in real companies.”

The previous celebrity-focused spots were designed to help a broad audience understand Watson, while the new slate of ads is more targeted to specific industries, Rubin added.

“First, people needed to understand that AI is here, it’s real and it can be applied to business,” she said. “These go a little deeper. Now, you get that AI isn’t scary, so we’re showing how it’s actually applied to business and industries today.”


@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.