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Waymark: Building The Future Of Commercials Through AI Technology

May 14, 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) video creator Waymark offers a platform for local businesses to create ... [+] personalized commercials in a matter of minutes.

Advertising over the years, no doubt, has evolved with technology. From the printing press of yesteryear to the pop-up ads on the internet at present. From the television and radio spots to the commercials created using artificial intelligence (AI). With time comes change. Massive change. Yet, the premise behind advertising; the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services; is not necessarily different. Evolved is the more appropriate descriptor.

One firm at the forefront of this evolution is Waymark, the AI video creator, that generates personalized commercials for any local business in a matter of minutes and immediately available to download.

"We first took the technology out into the marketplace at the start of the year," said Alex Persky-Stern, CEO of Waymark. "We saw video as a massive trend, but it was still very difficult to access. As soon as some of the new generative technology began to drop, we recognized that as an opportunity. And we took the opportunity to create a platform with high quality video accessible to any local brand or merchant."

"Basically, our platform produces the videos from the information we find out about these local businesses online," he explained. "Though the different AI technologies, we grab the right visual components, write a test script, choose assets from their online presence, and write a voiceover and voice it so it is one big coherent thing. If there is a limited online presence, you can just type in what you want the technology to know about your business or product."

Waymark's generative-AI video platform allows local businesses to generate high-quality TV ... [+] commercials with professionals voiceovers in five minutes or less.

Waymark's generative-AI video platform allows local businesses to generate high-quality TV commercials with professionals voiceovers in five minutes or less. The process is described as three-tier: 1) Import your business information (type in a business and location to get the platform going); 2) Waymark produces the videos, scanning the web for local business data to produce a video based on the brand); and 3) finalize your video. Within this immediate time frame, and with any last-minute adjustments, you can download the video and put it out wherever you see fit.

"More often than not, we are tapping into people who have not been able to afford videos before," noted Hayden Gilmer, Waymark's Vice President of Sales. "Small businesses normally can't pay for high-end custom production. So, we are providing them a way, whether through us or through our partners (television and radio stations, who create the ads for the local businesses), to advertise in all different places – on-air, linear, broadcast, and digital – with quality videos."

"We license everything to make sure you can use these videos anywhere you want. It is then up to the business to place those ads wherever they see fit," added Gilmer. "Each commercial is ready to download immediately."

Since launching this product at the beginning of the year, over 100,000 businesses have generated over 300,000 videos, according to Waymark's Alex Persky-Stern. And, last month, Gray Television Stations and Waymark signed a deal that will feature Waymark's IP rolled out across all of Gray's local broadcast stations nationally. Gray Television owns and operates 113 local TV stations across the country (representing 36 percent of U.S. TV households)

"Waymark's easy to use platform is helping us bring a bigger focus to video marketing in local markets. In return, we’ve been able to produce video at a higher rate and our sales reps have found a great deal of success in utilizing the tool," said Pat LaPlatney, President and Co-CEO, Gray Television in a statement. "We’ve already been fortunate to see the benefits of Waymark's platform throughout our organization nationally."

Gray Television Stations and Waymark signed a deal that will feature Waymark's IP rolled out across ... [+] all of Gray's local broadcast stations nationally.

In February, Spectrum Reach, the ad sales component of Charter Communications, partnered with Waymark for this new era of real-time, ready-to-air commercials for their TV and streaming TV advertising campaigns.

"We believe that all businesses should be able to tap into the power of TV advertising," said Michael Guth, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Spectrum Reach in a statement. "The introduction of the new AI voiceover platform with Waymark underscores our commitment to constantly seek new innovation, products and partnerships that will better position businesses for growth and success."

Spectrum Reach offers custom advertising solutions for the modern media landscape.

TV Commercials Over the Years

Once upon a time, promoting your product or business – national and local – was via a traditional spot on radio or on linear television where catchy ad slogans and advertisements competed for the attention of the audience. There was no digital. There was no cable. There was no social media. And the world's first official TV advertisement came with a 10 second spot for Bulova watches in 1941, while single companies sponsoring entire shows (with the broadcast announcing the sponsor before and after) was commonplace in the early days of the medium.

Digitally, the first ad outside of the traditional linear platform appeared on the Internet in 1994 when HotWired began selling space on its website for banner ads. Digital ads grew significantly when companies realized that this marketing technique could be easily targeted and customized towards specific user groups. Then there was the arrival of AI, where the use of machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data (such as previous commercials, targeted audience preferences, and market trends), to generate new ideas and scripts for commercials. The end-result are commercials that are produced quickly and more likely to resonate with the target audience.

"I do believe that generative AI will have an enormous impact on advertising, noted Dave Morgan, CEO, Simulmedia. Launched in 2008, Simulmedia pioneered a data-first approach to TV and video advertising, helping brands target, plan, activate, measure, and optimize their promotional plans on both platforms

"One of the impediments to leveraging the improvised data about audiences, purchase intent and targeted media placements is the inflexibility of the actual ad itself," he said. "An AI-driven ad creation like Waymark's enables brands to quickly, and easily, create hundreds or thousands of different advertisements that are tailored to specific audiences, media publications or environments."

Driving Revenue and Streamlining Production

Traditionally, the process of creating a television commercial was often a daunting task. First, there was the concept development. Then the scriptwriting, the casting, the shooting, the editing, and post-production, all of which often required a great deal of time and financial resources. Not to mention potentially large staffing. The advent of AI, where many of these tasks are automated, makes it more efficient and co-effective. And, through AI-powered facial recognition, there is an immediacy of analyzing thousands of images and videos in a matter of seconds.

"The AI will not only write the visuals for the commercials, it writes the script that will accompany the visuals and then we have a range of different artificial voices to choose from.," noted Waymark's Alex Persky-Stern. "Right now, we are video and don't do audio only stuff. But radio companies are starting to sell streaming placements as well, and they are using Waymark to power that side of the business as well."

Recently, Waymark signed an agreement with The Beasley Media Group, which provides advertising and digital marketing solutions across the country, to roll out Waymark's generative AI technology across 29 Beasley-owned radio stations. This includes stations in Augusta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Detroit, MI, Fayetteville, NC and Las Vegas, NV. The pact with Beasley Media Group is Waymark's first major step into radio.

"Local advertisers are looking for more effective and cost-efficient ways to stand out and attract customers across multiple media platforms," said Kevin Rich, Vice President of Operations for Beasley Media Group in a statement. "Our partnership with Waymark allows us to help local advertisers accomplish this goal and maximize the audience that will see and hear their message."

Beasley Media Group (BMG) provides advertising and digital marketing solutions across the United ... [+] States.

Waymark, no doubt, saw an opportunity in the AI space and seized it with this cost-effective model for creating commercials. And the early results indicate this newfound model represents the new era for advertising. But that is not to say that the traditional format is about to evaporate anytime soon.

"I don't believe that the traditional 30 second spot is obsolete," said Simulmedia's Dave Morgan. "It's standardization helps the TV and video ad market operate at an enormous scale with little friction, but I believe that the creation of those spots needs to be automated. AI has a lot of potential to help there, and Waymark is capitalizing on that."

TV Commercials Over the Years Driving Revenue and Streamlining Production