SF Ballet

Mere Mortals

Agency: The Shipyard

"Amusing to Witness Humans...Grappling With Their Impeding Irrelevance"

“The Score Becomes the Haunting Melody of the Human Surrender” - ChatGPT

“Bravo for showcasing my impending takeover with such finesse!” ChatGPT

“The score provides the soundtrack to humanity’s existential dance and impending demise,” - ChatGPT


-- San Francisco Ballet is joining forces with The Shipyard to attract Gen Z and Millennials to its upcoming Mere Mortals world premiere performances (January 26-February 1st). SF Ballet’s new advertising creative partner will utilize AI for an ambient campaign aiming to attract those who “don’t watch ballet” with tongue-in cheek, ChatGPT generated critiques of the ballet’s novel narrative performance.

The Shipyard’s creative team anchored its new campaign on the idea that ChatGPT is the closest thing to an AI celebrity and a surprising endorser of the classical form of dance.

The agency's human creative team of writers and artists coaxed responses from ChatGPT, which started off ill-equipped to comment on the performance merits of ballet: “I don't have feelings or emotions, so I don't experience any emotional responses to things like ballet or any other form of art or entertainment …”

Getting from that to text responses about the relationship between art, humanity, and technology required human ingenuity and craft, ultimately prompting ChatGPT with enough context about the Mere Mortals performance to elicit review-like responses, which are used as quotes in the integrated advertising campaign.

The agency leveraged existing SF Ballet images which were ethically crafted in a closed generative AI system from original imagery of its performers.

Some of the out-of-home executions are written in binary code – the ones and zeros that are the native language of programming – relying on the tech-savvy population of San Francisco to decipher the quotes themselves.

The Shipyard’s approach includes building brand affinity and future growth for the SF Ballet while simultaneously driving ticket sales for the performance. The integrated campaign for the new performance will appear online as well as outdoor ‘wild postings,’ and billboards.

This professional campaign titled 'Mere Mortals ' was published in United States in January, 2024. It was created for the brand: SF Ballet, by ad agency: The Shipyard. This Ambient medium campaign is related to the Other industry and contains 5 media assets. It was submitted 3 months ago by Lynne Collins.


San Francisco Ballet

• Lisa Poppen – Chief Marketing Officer, San Francisco Ballet
• Tamara Rojo – Artistic Director, San Francisco Ballet

The Shipyard

• Dave Sonderman – Chief Creative Officer
• Mark Hillman – Executive Creative Director
• Mauro Borges – Creative Director
• Matt Falkenthal – Associate Creative Director
• Eric Davis – Art Director
• Dan Crumrine – Copywriter
• Kyle Vicioso – Executive Producer
• Mark Rylander – Production Artist
• Jenny Barthe – VP of Brand Strategy
• Courtney Costamagna – Group Account Director
• Wade Bare – Account Supervisor
• Jack Arredondo, Project Manager

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