BMW’s MARKETING department hopes to find a new form with a new ad campaign for the 8 Series Gran Coupé, in which the car becomes a canvas for a robot artist with artificial intelligence.
Working with advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), the German automaker has trained an artificial intelligence system using more than 50,000 paints spanning 900 years of history. Using this knowledge, the AI system created artwork that was digitally projected onto the car.
The two companies also enlisted the help of Gary Yeh, an art collector and founder of the art Instagram account and weekly newsletter Artdrunk, who provided them with a selection of works by contemporary artists.
The AI then took the textures and techniques of classic and contemporary artists and used them in a series of original moving artworks projected onto the 8 Series Gran Coupé.
The technology used is called a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), an emerging form of “deep model learning” that allows AIs to create original works based on thousands of other images.
Similar technology has been used to train the AI to master a number of creative activities. Last year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) taught its Deep-speare program to write poetry in the style of a Shakespearean Sonnet, using 2,700 poems from the Project online library. Gutenberg. Others learned how to edit movie trailers and compose music.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how an artist can use AI as part of their practice, especially as a tool to express their creativity,” Yeh said.
Nathan Shipley, a creative technologist at GS&P, said, “BMW has this history of artistry and innovation, which is why today we are exploring the intersection of art and artificial intelligence.”
“The 8 Series Gran Coupe is that car that sits on that really sleek design, and it has that incredible silhouette. See this interaction [between the automotive design and the artwork] is really fascinating.
The campaign is not the first time that BMW has used its cars as canvases. In 2010, he worked with Jeff Koons, an American artist well known for his sculptures of everyday objects such as balloon animals, on an M3 GT which competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year – although she must have given up early.
In 1979, the automaker undertook a similar project with Andy Warhol, who painted an M1 supercar which also took part in the famous endurance race.
“I love this car,” Warhol said of the M1. “It’s more successful than the artwork”.
Jeff KoonsBMW M3GT2, 2010
Roy LichtensteinBMW 320i, 1977
David HockneyBMW 850 CSi, 1995
Andy WarholBMW M1, 1979
Alexander Calder BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975
Other BMW art cars include a 1977 BMW 320i by Roy Lichtenstein, a 1985 BMW 850 CSi by David Hockney, and the art car that started it all, a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder.
The 8 Series Gran Coupe was unveiled in 2019 and rivals cars such as the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes CLS. In his review of the car, Driving.co.uk editor Will Dron called it “one of the best grand tourers this side of a Bentley”, and said praise for its interior space and maneuverability.
However, BMW did not always create market masterpieces. The company came under fire in November 2020 for a weirdly antagonistic “Ok, Boomer” social media campaign promoting the new iX electric SUV.