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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Leveraging emotion with AI

Entered in Artificial Intelligence


Brand marketers spend significant budgets each year identifying key insights for their brands, the right space they should be playing in and the reasons to believe in that brand which are generally rooted in emotion and the ability to connect with consumers. The challenge in our industry is that with all of that rich knowledge and insight, there is an inability to truly activate those insights when it comes to the media execution. Media practitioners tend to focus on demographic, geographic and psychographic attributes but never truly connect the emotional sentiment of the ad with the media strategy because there hasn’t been a method to align emotional sentiment of creative within emotionally congruent digital content. Brand Safety is also a major issue and with the click of a button, advertisers can tarnish their brand and overall brand perception if their ad is placed within content that is deemed, inappropriate, violent, crude or politically charged. In addition to these challenges in our complex digital ecosystem, the deprecation of the cookie is making it more difficult to target potential consumers due to privacy concerns. These challenges result in inefficient targeting, and disrupted digital experiences which can cause negative brand perception. 


Reticle set out to address these issues by creating an AI solution that provides brand optimal placements that leverage emotional and creative insights in a manner that is brand safe and privacy compliant leading to better brand building outcomes.

Strategy and Execution

Reticle implements our deep understanding of cognitive behavioral science, and a globally validated, proprietary emotional framework adopted by over 100 leading global brands. Leveraging a language model that has been trained to understand human emotion, Reticle provides the ability to activate brand insights and emotional sentiment by contextually aligning the creative message within emotionally congruent digital content. There are currently 19 emotional categories that use embeddings produced from our AI that are used to classify web and video content that corresponds to the semantic representation of the emotion we are trying to identify. Initially developed for managed service programmatic buys only, we discovered that the product needed to be available on a self-serve basis so that programmatic traders could access any of the 19 emotional categories as additional tactics in addition to their traditional targeting, while still maintaining control of activation, optimization and reporting. Reticle’s AI continued to evolve and we continued to consider different language models and fine tuning procedures to produce better embeddings as well as new ways to perform classification on the embedding space to account for nuances in the English language. Our AI processes 5mm+ URLs and videos daily and classifies records into any of our 19 emotional categories to ensure that we are continuously refreshing our repository of available ad placements, offering the most relevant URLs that emotionally align with the advertisers' creative message. Our AI powers a self-serve, real time programmatic bidding solution that does not rely on audience data given that it is classifying content and not audiences. Our solution is completely cookie-less and brand safe which has filled a need in the market for advertisers who have been reliant on third party data in their digital advertising strategies. There are a number of contextual competitors that focus on IAB categorization, keywords, sentiment and image analysis. Our solution is uniquely positioned to help advertisers impact their brand awareness and consideration driven media by delivering more brand optimal ad viewing experiences. 


By aligning the emotional intent of the ad campaign/creative message within emotionally congruent digital content, our AI has helped to drive increased brand lift, incremental attention and higher CTR, VCR front end media metrics relative to other forms of contextual bidding. Our AI has helped to deliver +21% awareness and recall for a very high profile financial brand, +23% in brand consideration for a well known active-wear retailer and +50% conversion lift for a well known CPG brand. Our AI has been compared to other forms of contextual bidding that use keyword and category contextual alignment and our emotional AI solution has delivered a difference of +50% increase in click through rate, proving that focusing on emotion and aligning creative within emotionally congruent digital content is more effective than standard contextual targeting.


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