Kayak finds humour in truth deniers

—Human creativity and machine learning produced these funny ads about Covid denying archetypes, says Craig Redmond—

I think we all gasped in collective disbelief when Mike Pence finally debunked the falsehood that he could have overturned the 2020 election.

And it wasn’t just because he likely sealed his own political sarcophagus by abandoning Trump’s listing lifeboat and started swimming against the Donald’s unrelenting orange tide.

No, we also gulped for air because Pence told the truth.

That’s how fragile reality has become over these past few years. You could even argue that it may be the greatest victim of this pandemic era—after the nearly six million souls who have succumbed to Covid itself, of course.

We encounter the death of truth in every dark corner of our news day.

Russian diplomats denying the threat of military invasion, despite 100,000 troops and tanks idling in a Ukrainian overflow parking lot. Tennis and NFL champions denying their boldfaced lies about remaining unvaccinated. Perjurious Republicans denying the bloody insurrection of last Jan. 6, describing it as “legitimate political discourse.” And there’s the 40%+ of American voters who continue to deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Perhaps the most incomprehensible untruths in recent years, however, have festered around the pandemic itself—namely, the denial of vaccine efficacy, and the belief that mass vaccination is equivalent to big government’s grand larceny of political freedom. Fables most recently put on embarrassing display in our own country, with all that gangrenous ignorance spreading from city to city, trailer-hitched to a truck convoy.

But what’s really terrifying about the murdering of truth is how universally acceptable it has become. People don’t think twice about defying the obvious truth, and the rest of us have become utterly indifferent to their brazen deceit.

We just chalk it up to the “new abnormal,” rather than clawing against that treachery with every sinewy strand of our being. It is what it is, we concede.

It’s that cultural insight about reality denial that’s behind this ongoing campaign for Kayak. And it’s an insight mined by a new agency born out of the pandemic, called Supernatural.

The founders claim to deliver campaigns in hyperloop speed by combining artificial intelligence and machine learning with human creativity. The AI provides winning strategies based on real time data and marketing success probabilities.

The machine learning constantly evolves that intelligence by leveraging emerging trends from pop culture analysis. And the human creatives harness that science to make better ads faster, according to Supernatural’s home on the internet.

All that said, this work for Kayak deftly taps into the aforementioned death of truth phenomenon. And it features those denier archetypes who are dividing friendships and tearing families asunder with their indefensible rejection of fact.

It’s an astute and funny way to demonstrate that Kayak’s own claims must therefore be undeniably true. But my gut tells me that our creative intuition could have guided many of us to that same conceptual destination without enlisting the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

That is, of course, if truth be told.

Craig Redmond is a Creative Leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.