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JPMorgan Chase chooses AI copywriter Persado to write ads

Quartz logo Quartz 8/7/2019 Michelle Cheng
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In another sign that the future of work is already here, JPMorgan Chase has signed a five-year deal with a software startup that uses artificial intelligence to write marketing copy, following a successful pilot with the technology.

In tests, JPMorgan Chase found that Persado’s machine-learning tool crafted better ad copy than its own writers could muster, as measured by the higher click rates—more than double in some case—on digital ads for Chase cards and mortgages. In one such matchup, an ad written by a human read, “Access cash from the equity in your home.” The more successful version, from Persado, read, “It’s true—You can unlock cash from the equity in your home.”

“Persado’s technology is incredibly promising,” Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “It rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgment and their experience, likely wouldn’t have. And they worked.”

Persado’s “message machine” builds copy from a database of more than 1 million words tagged and scored for emotional appeal. JPMorgan Chase began testing the technology three years ago, and Lemkau says the company now hopes to use it not just for advertising but also in its internal communications and in customer-service prompts.

Neither company disclosed the terms of their expanded relationship. Asked whether the arrangement would trigger cuts or other changes to the lender’s staff, a spokesperson for the bank told AdAge that the relationship “hasn’t had an impact on our structure.”

JPMorgan Chase has more than 250,000 employees and an $11 billion annual technology budget that will, in part, help the company automate many of their tasks. In 2017, the bank implemented a program called Contract Intelligence (COIN) to shorten to mere seconds that time it takes to review documents that lawyers and loan officers typically spend thousands of hours a year reviewing.

“People always talk about this stuff as displacement. I talk about it as freeing people to work on higher-value things, which is why it’s such a terrific opportunity for the firm,” former JPMorgan Chase chief information officer Dana Deasy told Bloomberg in 2017, before he left the bank and become chief information officer for the US Department of Defense.

A 2018 BrightEdge survey of digital marketers at Fortune 500 companies found that about 60% of them expected to use AI in their content strategy that year to deliver more personalized messages. Persado says its message machine is being used by more than 250 brands, including Dell, Citi, American Express, Air Canada, and Microsoft.

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