AI Startup Perplexity Shocks with Mind-Blowing Hollywood-Style Fake Movie Trailer in First Ad

THE KNOW-IT-ALLS Trailer - Perplexity
THE KNOW-IT-ALLS Trailer - Perplexity

Perplexity, a generative artificial intelligence startup valued at $1 billion, has made a bold entrance into the mainstream tech space with its first paid marketing campaign. The campaign aired during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, marking a significant milestone for the nascent company.

A High-Profile Media Buy

The seven-figure media buy during such a high-profile event is noteworthy. The NBA Finals draw sizable audiences and blue-chip brands, making it an ideal platform for Perplexity to plant its flag in mainstream America. This move underscores the company's big-swing mentality and ambition to compete with industry giants.

Unconventional Creative Approach

What sets this campaign apart is not just its placement but also its creative approach. Perplexity introduced itself through a movie-style trailer for an action thriller that doesn't exist—yet. Talks have already begun for potential TV series or full-length features based on the concept.

An Asymmetrical Bet

Dmitry Shevelenko, Perplexity's chief business officer, described the marketing move as "an asymmetrical bet." He emphasized the need for bold actions to stand out in a market dominated by trillion-dollar companies. "If we take a bunch of easy shots and not the threes, we're not going to win this game," he told ADWEEK.

The Know-It Alls: A Unique Ad Concept

The spot, titled "The Know-It Alls," was created by Los Angeles-based indie agency Sandwich. It borrows from well-known advertising formulas but adds unique tweaks and an AI assist. The 30-second cutdown aired on ABC during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, while the full two-minute video will be distributed on Disney-owned streaming channels.

Tweaking a Familiar Formula

Adam Lisagor, founder of Sandwich, explained that the idea came from one of Perplexity's unofficial slogans, "Know It All." The goal was to create something about discovery where characters subtly use Perplexity's platform without overt branding. This approach aims to spark curiosity among viewers.

Authentic Feel

To make the ad feel real rather than like a parody, creatives focused on authenticity. They wanted people to think it's plausibly a real movie. This aligns with Perplexity's brand DNA and message—sparking curiosity and encouraging viewers to ask questions.

Entertainment Value and Social Shares

The spot’s entertainment value is expected to lend itself to social shares and earned media, providing another metric for measuring the campaign's success. If viewers are left wondering what they just saw, then Perplexity will consider it a success.

Iconic Inspiration

The commercial was shot over two days in Nashville and centers on a group of inventor-troublemakers banding together for a common purpose. Inspiration came from seminal projects like BMW Films and Apple's "1984" ad directed by Ridley Scott.

Future Content Plans

Perplexity is already working on more content that captures the spirit of "The Know-It Alls" but explores different genres with new scripts and characters. There is also interest from two Hollywood studios in developing this original intellectual property into films or series.

Expanding Campaign Strategies

As part of its current campaign strategy, Perplexity is considering out-of-home ads featuring questions and QR codes that direct users to answers via their services. This multi-faceted approach aims to further establish Perplexity as a reliable player in the burgeoning tech space.

In conclusion, Perplexity's innovative marketing campaign reflects its ambitious goals and willingness to take risks in order to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.