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GSK signs up for the 'dawn of cognitive advertising'

Its consumer health arm is among the first to use new IBM offering Watson Ads

GSK GlaxoSmithKline consumer health products  

GlaxoSmithKline's consumer health business has signed up to use IBM's Watson in adverts that allow consumers to interact with the supercomputer.

GSK - whose consumer brands include Aquafresh, Beechams and alli - joins the Campbell Soup Company and Unilever in being the first firms to use IBM's new Watson Ads offering.

The use of Watson has been expanding in healthcare of late. It's a little over a year since Watson Health was set up and it has since struck over four major deals - most recently buying Truven Health Analytics for $2.6bn.

The application of the supercomputer has also been linked with a potential breakthrough in viral diseases, with Watson's cognitive computing capabilities behind the identification of a new macromolecule.

Now IBM's The Weather Company business has applied the technology to advertising with Watson Ads, which it says will allow consumers to ask Watson questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about a product or service.

Theresa Agnew, chief marketing officer at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said: “Cognition humanises the use of data as we move from intent-based advertising to actual one-to-one interacting. It also gives consumers easy access to information to make better decisions about their healthcare in real time. 

Watson is already being readied to 'see' health problems, and IBM says the new Watson Ads will help consumers make “more informed decisions at point of consideration”.

Domenic Venuto, general manager of consumer products at The Weather Company, said: “The dawn of cognitive advertising is truly a watershed moment. Now as part of IBM, we have even more tools and technologies at our disposal to inspire innovations within advertising, artificial intelligence and storytelling.

“This is a huge opportunity to expose consumers to all of the surprising and delightful experiences that Watson has in store for them - and to make advertising a truly valuable interaction for both our fans and our marketing partners, which is always our goal.”

Watson Ads will incorporate The Weather Company's weather data, which will be factored into query responses in pursuit of greater relevance, and will launch first on The Weather Company channels such as weather.com and wunderground.com.

The Weather Company also intends to create the Watson Ads Council, in which GSK Consumer Healthcare - along with the Campbell Soup Company and Unilever - plans to participate.

10th June 2016

From: Marketing

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