Why We Roll With a Robot

It happened. After years of ominous warnings, I can finally say I have a robot as a colleague. Though I knew the day was inevitable, I wasn’t prepared to discover the smartest strategist on my team didn’t have a pulse.

Its name is Blue Ocean. It’s not a robot in the conventional sense, but rather an artificial intelligence platform that specializes in delivering brand strategy insights. Much like C-3PO from Star Wars, Blue Ocean is a master of language, especially the online vernacular surrounding brands. (The team behind it had leased space at our team’s old office, and the Illuminator crew got to watch them grow from a scrappy startup to a VC-funded force working with respected global brands.)

Strategists have been leveraging software for years to assist with tedious tasks like data scraping and social listening. But artificial intelligence isn’t merely software. Blue Ocean’s been trained to do complex analysis, to understand sentiment, to look at images and derive meaning. Until recently, these were all tasks that only a human could accomplish (at great time and expense). The speed at which Blue Ocean is able to execute brand tracking has turned the exercise from an annual crucible into something refreshingly nimble and actionable.

Advertising is a service industry built on brains, not brawn. It’s something we should be proud of, but not cavalier about. We are moving into a reality where the best brainpower won’t always be human, and that’s OK.

That’s why we roll with a robot.

Illuminator is a digital-first advertising agency designed to show brands the way forward in an ever-shifting media landscape. We believe every brand has a compelling story to tell. We’ll help you tell yours.

We’re the agency you’d create if you were creating an agency today.