Heinz Asks DALL-E To Draw Ketchup With Surprising Results
by Rudy Sanchez on 07/28/2022 | 3 Minute Read
Research laboratory OpenAI recently opened up access to its DALL-E Artificial Intelligence (AI) art generator, allowing more people to experiment with the technology in new, creative ways—even Cosmopolitan recently sought DALL-E to imagine a magazine cover.
But the latest to take the robot visual composer for a spin isn’t a media company or digital artist.
Heinz used its unfettered access to DALL-E to extend its Draw Ketchup campaign. Previously, the brand asked random humans in 18 countries to draw the word ketchup, but this time the brand is asking a robot to do so. The results aren’t just surreal; DALL-E’s interpretation of ketchup demonstrates what OpenAI’s platform understands is ketchup and, by extension, how we perceive ketchup.
Heinz instructed DALL-E 2 to create art depicting the popular tomato-based tomato condiment, using natural language terms like “ketchup,” “ketchup art,” “fuzzy ketchup,” “ketchup in space,” and “‘ketchup renaissance.” In many cases, DALL-E would return art featuring familiar visual elements to Heinz fans, including depictions of the infamous keystone label and bottle shape. In some images, DALL-E’s label renderings closely match the profile and style of Heinz’s bottles, including a border in a different color. Some bottle shapes found inspiration in classic glass ketchup packaging, but DALL-E also returned wider bottles similar to the plastic squeeze bottles commonly purchased for the home. DALL-E also painted pictures with squirt tops and flat white lids, common on Heinz bottles.
DALL-E’s AI is derived from learning a large set of image-text pairs. From this, DALL-E builds a neural network capable of generating new images based on understanding the relationship between the words in the natural language prompts. Like all AI, DALL-E exhibits biases based on its fed datasets. That DALL-E strongly associates Heinz’s visual identity with ketchup reflects the brand’s popularity and prominent placement in pop culture and consumer rituals.
“With AI imagery dominating news and social feeds, we saw a natural opportunity to extend our 'Draw Ketchup' campaign; rooted in the insight that Heinz is synonymous with the word ketchup—to test this theory in the AI space,” said Jacqueline Chao, senior brand manager for Heinz brand communications, in a press release. “From the distinct keystone label to our iconically slow-pouring ketchup bottle, we know Heinz is unmistakable to people around the world, and we're thrilled to see even the most unbiased source recognizes that when it comes to ketchup, it has to be Heinz.”
Heinz is inviting fans to send their best DALL-E prompts with the brand promising to use and share the output of selected suggestions.
Images courtesy of Kraft Heinz.