Mad Machines: Nike’s AI Showdown Features Serena vs Serena

In the latest entry of our “Mad Machines” series, we have another piece of AI-generated brilliance – curtsy of Nike and AKQA US. Now, what happens when one of the world’s greatest athletes competes against… herself? Let’s dive into the time-warp and discover how Nike used cutting-edge AI technology to replicate Serena Williams’ evolution through her impressive career.

First Impressions

Remember that kid-in-a-sweet-shop feeling? Yeah, that was me as I witnessed Serena Williams face-off against her younger self on YouTube. With 1.69 million others watching, believe me, the suspense was palpable!

Nike combined archival footage with AI to simulate a record-breaking 130,000 games between two eras of Serena – the 1999 Grand Slam rookie and her 2017 seasoned self. As Serena embarks on her 27th and final professional year, Nike has pulled off a stunt that is audacious, surreal, and beautifully sentimental.

Lessons Uncovered

This campaign taught us the potential of AI in marketing storytelling. Imagine showcasing any brand’s evolution by pitting their past and future selves against each other. It doesn’t get much more profound than that, does it?

The tech involved is dazzling. The machine learning model based on archival footage, including decision making, shot selection, and agility, offered an insight into Serena’s journey like never before. The vid2player technique from Stanford University added a realistic touch to the AI avatars, making them respond as if they were the real deal.

The Cool Quotient

So, what shot this campaign into the stratosphere of cool? Well, it’s not just about using AI; it’s about how they used it.

Nike aimed to gain insight into Serena’s journey and her ability to challenge the future – and that’s exactly what they achieved. With AKQA studios in Melbourne, Portland, and São Paulo collaborating on this game-changer project, we saw a perfect blend of sports, AI tech, and marketing genius.

The climax was the final gameplay, broadcasted as a YouTube livestream. But wait! There’s more. The lead-up to the event involved social media posts on Nike’s Instagram and Twitter channels, demonstrating how multiple platforms can be utilised for maximum impact.

This innovative approach from Nike and AKQA US serves as a crucial step towards a future where sports analytics offer more human-readable data visualisation. It has truly set a new benchmark for AI application in marketing.

To Sum Up

Folks, Nike’s ‘Serena vs Serena’ showdown was no regular match – it was a riveting story of evolution, innovation, and determination brought to life through AI technology. Now that’s what I call a grand slam!

Until next time, keep your eyes peeled for more Mad Machines. You never know when the next piece of AI genius will drop!

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