Business challenge

As our country and world grappled with some of the most challenging issues of our time - the rise of COVID-19, the fight against racial injustice, and more - brands needed to pivot how they were reaching and communicating with their consumers.

With this in mind, the Ad Council turned to IBM Watson Advertising to educate and bring about awareness of their "Love Has No Labels" campaign’s “Fight for Freedom” effort, centered around racial injustice, bias, and equality.


The Ad Council leveraged IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator as part of IBM Watson Advertising’s Call for Creative initiative which gave 5 premium advertisers an instance of Accelerator to use for free as long as it was used in an open and purposeful way.

Accelerator uses AI to rapidly and continuously learn which creative elements will resonate with each audience based on not only how consumers react but also on a multitude of other key signals such as DMA, device type, and time of day. 

The Ad Council leveraged Accelerator to predict and serve ad units with creative elements most likely to increase engagement and action, ultimately educating consumers about their "Love Has No Labels" campaign, uncovering insights about which creative drives the highest engagement, and showcasing the power of AI to bring about positive change.

Accelerator's predictive technology, powered by AI, drove impressive results for the Ad Council, including deeper understanding of which creative elements and messaging resonate best with different audiences.

  • 81 creative variations, an average of 93% beating brand CTR benchmarks by platform
  • 113% lift in CTR from start of campaign to end of campaign
  • 69% increase in conversions (actions on site) throughout the campaign

In addition to performance, the Ad Council gained valuable insights about which messaging resonated most (strong, action-oriented CTAs) and how creative resonated by demographic (i.e. F18-34 and M35+ reacted to similar creative, while M18-34 and F35+ had different creative similarities).

Due to the success of their first campaign, the Ad Council will be leveraging Accelerator for a second time, for their Vaccine Confidence Campaign, which seeks to reach communities where there are higher levels of vaccine hesitancy. Accelerator will test and predict the optimal combination of digital creative elements to craft a message that best resonates with each target demographic, and the Ad Council will use those insights to inform their larger campaign efforts.

Solution category

  • AI/Watson