‘Tis The Season for Generative AI at Park & Battery

By Michael Ruby

A chill is in the air. The lights are strung upon the eaves. Carols ring through the rafters and Whamageddon stalks us all. That means the time has come for everyone’s favorite seasonal pastime: agency holiday greetings! At Park & Battery, we bring glad tidings with The Holid-A.I. Gift Factory. Cozy up by the yule log to hear how we made it.    

It’s time for some artificially intelligent merriment

We recently blogged about the rise of generative AI and synthetic media, stating that while AI-generated artwork isn’t new, it’s reaching a tipping point in terms of quality and ease of use. And we recommended that creative professionals start to get comfortable with the idea of “art + copy + code + algorithm.” That’s why we took our own advice and dove headfirst into creating a digital experience that takes advantage of this exciting new technology to share some good, old-fashioned-yet-new-fangled holiday fun.

The Park & Battery Holid-A.I. Gift Factory lets users build the perfect gift for their friends, colleagues and loved ones – a piece of custom AI-generated artwork built by our robot elves from your limitless imagination.

How does this holiday miracle work? Simply answer a few questions for our elves – like what you want to make and how awesome it should look. In seconds, you get to see your masterpiece. Then, you can send it to a friend. Show it off on social media. Or be a Scrooge and save it for yourself.

How did we build this festive generative AI experience?

Matt Dignan, P&B’s Head of Web Development, spearheaded the technology behind the project and gave us a bit of behind-the-scenes details from his magical toolshed.

“The Holid-A.I. Gift Factory was a fantastic challenge, requiring a mixture of creative technologies to make it possible,” Matt said. “We explored a number of generative AI technologies while considering the best web tools to use. The site is primarily Javascript, using Vue.js. For AI image generation, we used the Stable Diffusion algorithm combined with an open-source library provided by NLP Cloud.”

Building this new kind of experience required a lot of exploration and experimentation, not to mention building custom applications. “We had to find the right AI tech and configure the front-end to deliver a snappy experience. We didn’t want people waiting around forever for the images. Ultimately, we had to build a middleware component from scratch to connect these technologies and bring the generated images to the screen. That was exciting.

“It has been so much fun bringing this to life. I didn’t expect to learn so much more about so many types of technologies, but I learned a ton in the process, too.”

Learning how to make the most wonderful gifts

The experimentation went beyond the technology to understanding how to offer the best creator experience to generate the best quality images. This required learning how to best “speak” to our “elves” in the AI engine.

“It came down to figuring out which variables had the most impact on the images, and how much information we really needed to guide the tool,” recalls Kristen Kremkau, Director of Content. “At the start, the results were pretty funky. But we learned how to get the specificity needed to unleash our own creativity – as well as the AI’s creativity.”

As Matt wrote the code and Kristen smithed the words, our senior video artist Ricardo Weibezahn illustrated and animated our video, and the entire experience was conceived and designed by senior designer Jenny Truong. When I was on their nice list, the team let me help in the fun, too (not to mention my daughter, who voiced our magical unicorn in the video).

Ready to give it a try?

Head over to the workshop and make your own unique piece of AI-generated artwork. Find out what happens when you ask the factory elves for a drawing of a flamingo eating pizza…or an impressionist painting of a Christmas Morning sunrise over NYC…or a sunset Hanukah candle lighting in the style of Vincent van Gogh.

Create your AI art now at The Park & Battery Holid-A.I. Gift Factory, and have a wonderful holiday season and a joyous new year!

Michael Ruby President & Chief Creative Officer

Named the 2021 Best in Biz Creative Executive of the Year and part of the 2018 DMN 40under40, Michael is the President and Chief Creative Officer of Park & Battery. In his role, he is the company’s head of global brand strategy, creative and content. Michael’s work has been recognized by The One Show, Webby Awards, Global ACE Awards, B2 Awards, Content Marketing Awards, numerous awards from The Drum, and his favorite: “Best use of the word ‘boo-yah’ in a b-to-b ad ever,” according to Ad Age.

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