The Kids Say Thanks

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  • “The Kids Say Thanks” is a Barrett and Welsh AI-powered campaign for the Canadian Scholarship Trust (CST). We created this campaign to acquire South Asian newcomers as new CST customers. Our ad tech breakthrough gave every participating parent a glimpse of the future they were saving for by delivering a personalized-by-AI message — a thank-you video from their baby as a grown-up graduate.

    South Asian parents have a deep belief that the best education opens up the best future for their kids. But there’s a big problem with the future. We can’t see it. How can we save for something we can’t see? We knew that CST already makes it easy for Canadians to save for their kids’ future. Now, we decided, CST would make it easy for you to see that future.

    Our big idea?

    We decided to harness the power of generative AI to give these newcomer parents a glimpse of the future. Our ads start out like typical RESP ads. They ask you about your baby’s future. But, unusually, they invite you to let your baby answer that question themselves. All you have to do is click to receive a message. From your baby. The possibility of winning a $10,000 CST Savings RESP provides an extra nudge to click the ad.

    The AI experience

    Parents who respond to our ads arrive at “The Kids Say Thanks” campaign microsite where a simple form collects the information our AI engine needs to create a personalized video from the future—a spoken message of thanks from their baby, now all grown up into a successful young adult. The parents enter their pet name* for, say, their baby boy. “Puttar.”* They fill in what their baby calls them. “Pappa.” “Mamma.” And they tell us what they dream their Puttar will become when he grows up. “An engineer.” Minutes after submitting the form, they receive an email notification with a link to the AI-personalised video from their “baby.” If the parents identify themselves as Sikhs, they will see a young man in a turban, for example. If they identify their child as a girl, they will see a young woman.

    We created three online videos with three different South Asian actors delivering the same script. Every time the form is filled, AI personalizes each video in minutes, replacing the words the actors use in their recorded performances with the words their “parents” submitted, simulating lip movements, accents, diction and cadence. So he introduces himself by his pet name—puttar—and addresses them as Pappa and Mamma. And he makes a short, passionate speech, thanking them. For saving for his future. For investing in an RESP. When they finish watching, we invite them to share the video with friends and family.

    The AI engine has the capacity to deliver thousands of these personalized videos.

    *Pet names are affectionate, personal names that South Asian parent give their children as a sign of deep love. They are unique for each child and often bear no resemblance to their actual name.

    zyaada aasasan Much easier

    Puttar. Son/baby-boy

  • This innovative AI-powered campaign for Canadian Scholarship Trust targeting South Asian newcomers attracted positive press in Media in Canada and Campaign Canada — and was shortlisted in the multicultural category at the 2024 Marketing Awards.

  • What we created
    This integrated campaign for Canadian Scholarship Trust was deployed across paid social media, email, a microsite, and AI-personalized online videos. South Asian behavioural filters on the Google Display Network, and on Meta’s paid social media platforms. Digital display ads ran on South Asian sites like Digital Out-of-Home and geo-targeting focused campaign delivery in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of South Asian newcomers.