The Super Bowl is almost upon us, and you know what that means: it's time to mock, jeer, and clap like seals at stupidly expensive commercials.
This year, Microsoft, no stranger to the occasion but off a several year hiatus, has stepped up to the plate with an ad for its chatbot called Copilot. It's intended to replace the Bing search assistant as the tech giant's flagship AI product, but the ad doesn't make a particularly convincing case for itself.
We'll get to our gripes in a moment, but here's what you need to know: Copilot is targeted at what the industry likes to label 'creators,' and more specifically, anyone that uses Microsoft's Office suite. It offers them what Microsoft has billed as an "AI companion" to help creators out with their projects — a chatbot, image generator, and a coder all rolled into one. All the kind of stuff that will have AI bros chomping at the bit.
Now anyone with the Copilot app — which is available on pretty much every platform — can load up the AI and ask it to do stuff like, as shown in the ad, "Write code for my 3D open world game," or "Generate storyboard images for the dragon scene in my script." Y'know, things that motivated, creative people do.
And with all that riding on Copilot, we have to say: the ad kind of stinks. What you get is an uninspired montage of young people walking through city streets and gazing out windows, solemn and unmotivated… until one activates Microsoft's AI gizmo, and then they're suddenly galvanized out of their creative drought, churning out code and bad dragon art to the anthemic chorus of a stomp-clapping pop song.
Yeah, it's generic ad stuff — not the kind of head turning things you'd expect from a Super Bowl commercial, not particularly sad or dramatic or funny, the three modes that these ads tend to operate in.
So if this is Microsoft's way of making a statement, it's not much of one.
But here's another way it's trying to get people to try its product: Microsoft's keyboards will soon come with a built-in AI key to summon Copilot, a clever if not incredibly annoying method of ensuring everyone in its ecosystem knows they have the chatbot at their fingertips.
It's worth noting that this moment also marks a pretty big turning point for Microsoft's arch-nemesis Google, which is also rebranding its suite of AI products to stay ahead of the competition after fielding a forgettable chatbot of its own. And hey: may the best ad-maker win.
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