I first heard of Kelly Wade, the marketing director of Florida’s Natural Growers, as my best friend and I were driving to the coast. We were discussing how I could get larger, national brands to work with my students in a campaigns class I was teaching at the University of Oregon. Billie said she know a woman who worked with Florida’s Natural orange juice – and I was like, “WHAT?! – That’s PERFECT!”. The rest is history was we say, Kelly was extremely receptive to the idea of working with my students and we had a blast crafting campaigns for the brand that would excite and engage Gen Z, several of which included immersive elements.

Since that time, Kelly has continued to support the pub crawl and attend our monthly events. She’s an amazingly gifted and dedicated marketer who sees the potential that XR and AI offer to our profession. I’m THRILLED to feature Kelly this month and appreciate her thoughtful answers to a few questions that will hopefully help you get to know more about her role and her perspective on XR and AI. Enjoy!

What is your area of expertise?  

I’m a marketing/brand person.  My expertise is in CPG and traditional marketing, including product and packaging development and management, pricing, marketing comms, consumer insights and advocacy.

Why are you interested in XR and AI for marketing and communications?  

We’ve actually used augmented reality for a product line we had and we created an app in which scanning the carton package launched an AR video to see the carton come to life.  Although we’ve got that learning under our belt, we have discussed other opportunities, and we’ve had other projects compete for resources.

For a CPG brand, using XR to enhance the consumer experience, and what that looks like is really limited only by imagination, tying it to the equity of the brand.  For example, when we have people visit – vendor/partners, retailer customers, etc. – we usually include a grove tour including learning about the trees and fruit, how citrus is produced and picked, and usually also an in-grove tasting.  It’s ALWAYS the biggest hit of any visit.  Spatial XR offers an opportunity for the Florida’s Natural to extend that tour to anyone with a headset and drive the differentiation of the brand in consumers’ minds.

AI has lots of different applications, though I’m interested now in using it to automate labor-intensive, scenario-type tasks – pricing modeling, media buying, data interpretation, and really anywhere that would benefit from looking for patterns that may not be readily apparent.

I’m also interested in AI’s ability to generate and personalize content.  I think in general, advertising agencies have been slow to respond to AI.  Maybe it has something to do with Sam Altman claiming AI can do 95% of marketing, but there seems to be more openness and receptivity from agencies now.  The big holding companies seem to have dug into questions about usage and ownership, and these will be important for us to have a rock solid understanding up front.  If AI we generate an image, but some other entity actually owns it, what we can are able to use is limited.  I’ve got a meeting scheduled now with our agency to delve into these issues.

Do you currently leverage XR and AI for marketing or do you plan to in the near future?  

We don’t have any specific plans for XR and AI.  I think AI, especially, is becoming woven into a lot of our partners’ solutions, and if we dig into some of our work, it’s happening already.  For us, it will be about it driving value to the brand, ease of use, and affordability.