#UnArtificialArt: How Vienna is Using AI to Promote its Art Scene

#UnArtificialArt is an exciting new initiative created by DTTT Member, Vienna Tourist Board.

#UnArtificialArt is an exciting new initiative created by DTTT Member, Vienna Tourist Board. Combining AI and art creates a new perspective on art, generating new ways of portraying and interpreting historical artworks.

Today, AI is widely regarded as the next big disruptive technology, reshaping everything from how we work, communicate and experience things, to the very nature of what is authentic (created by humans), to what might appear as such but in reality is computer generated. You're unlikely to end a day without having read or heard about some kind of new AI development, so as a marketer, why does this technology matter to you?

The possibilities for using AI are endless. DMOs have the opportunity to personalise user experiences and there is also the opportunity with predictive analysis to use machine learning for traditional research. As Vienna Tourist Board's #UnArtificialArt programme shows, there are creative ways for destinations to use AI in the form of combining traditional art with this new technology.

In this case study, we'll look at how Vienna Tourist Board is exploiting AI and what its marketing team has achieved, to show other DMOs that AI can be used in a more playful, fun manner to spark a conversation and create engagement with their target audiences.

Vienna Tourist Board recognised the huge potential of AI and in leveraging these developments they were able to reinforce their competitive position in putting the city in front of potential visitors, being relevant, tapping into an ongoing trend and perhaps being a little controversial at the same time. The goal was to think about how AI could be leveraged to achieve this improved destination positioning and create intrigue, engagement and appeal amongst potential visitors.

Using AI to Strengthen Vienna's Brand

Vienna Tourist Board has an ambitious strategy, with residents and visitors coinciding at the heart of the approach. Today, 90% of residents view tourism as positive, which is key for the city to be able to build on existing trends and go in new directions, such as the #UnArtificialArt project.

Digitalisation plays a big role in the city's future and the visitor app 'ivie', developed by Vienna Tourist Board, is an example of this. It is targeted towards visitors already in the city to enhance their experiences with curated suggestions based on data and personalisation. It includes guided audio tours, specific tips and maps. Whilst perhaps a crowded space, the team at Vienna Tourist Board recognised through detailed research that there was a gap in the market for a premium companion app for visitors, with high-quality content, good use of data and native functionality.

Initiatives such as ivie are a clear example of how Vienna's strategy is being shaped and enabled by digitalisation and the opportunities presented by exploiting the full potential of technology. With #UnArtificialArt combining art and technology, this represents a further opportunity to take this strategy one step further. It connects the rich history of art in Vienna with the current interest in AI, where the opportunity to test these developments and become a relevant voice is key.

So how does it all come together? With #UnArtificialArt, AI mines vast repositories of existing artworks for data before replicating their substance and style. Vienna Tourist Board created a platform called 'Klimt vs Klimt' in partnership with Google Arts & Culture. The user enters instructions or commands via a prompt, for example, typing 'cat in an Egon Schiele portrait', which produces an interesting AI-derived result. With simple instructions, the AI model can create a similar picture but still with its own identity.

This represents a wider shift in expectations from visitors for more digitally enhanced, interactive and even sometimes intellectually challenging experiences.

Expectations of visitors to popular attractions are greater than ever. When attending an art exhibition or museum, visitors no longer simply want to see a gallery, but instead to be immersed in the experience, where they can interact with art digitally.

To be competitive in today's digitally enhanced environment, DMOs have to be more innovative than ever before and realise the opportunity to capitalise on the exposure brought by developments, such as AI, where new possibilities and experiences can be imagined.

On a brand strategy level, #UnArtificialArt works nicely as the relevance, even the controversy perhaps, plays well from a digital PR perspective. At the very least, it sparks curiosity and playfulness, reinforcing Vienna's core brand values. This ultimately creates heightened awareness and interest, driving more people to consider a visit the city.

Continuous use of AI

Vienna's willingness to experiment with the most recent generative AI developments, which offer considerable potential to take the brand to the next level, demonstrates a new wave of opportunity being created for brands to exploit AI for marketing purposes.

Vienna follows in the footsteps of a number of other DMOs who have similarly sought to exploit recent AI developments, such as the Faroe Islands announcing their National Gallery to be the first to launch an AI exhibition, whilst Visit Denmark also sought to tap into the hype around generative AI with a campaign that brought famous artworks to life, sharing their inner thoughts in a play on their 'Land of Everyday Wonder' brand.

These different campaign initiatives exploiting AI demonstrate the potential in being on-trend with current developments, but also the value derived not so much from recent technology, but rather the PR potential in being first to exploit it.

Key Takeaways

  1. If used in the right way, AI can improve the visitor experience and give the destination publicity and exposure.
  2. Digital trends generally represent a clear opportunity for destination brands to exploit the hype around them and create strong engagement with potential visitors.
  3. When tapping into a development like AI, Vienna Tourist Board shows us with #UnArtificialArt the importance of keeping it 'on brand'.
  4. As a DMO, think not only about the practical use of AI but how marketable your campaign can be and the potential outreach it has.
  5. Think about the impact of tourism on the destination's residents, not just the visitors - can further extensions be considered that shifts it from PR in the short-term to something more meaningful over time.

Published on:
August 2023
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