Will 2023 be the year the robots came for creatives?
January already has seen a few notable examples of advertisers delegating creative tasks to artificial intelligence, most notably the “eerily” good ad copy ChatGPT churned out for Mint Mobile, the telecom challenger brand part-owned by Ryan Reynolds. The actor took to Twitter to share his excitement and horror over the ad’s quality, complete with not one, but two, clever jokes.
While the Mint spot nods to our collective anxiety around the growing sophistication of AI, Bacardi-owned vermouth brand Martini put its faith in AI to create visual assets for a recent campaign created by AMV BBDO using the AI tool Midjourney. While this kind of work may trigger a collective shudder on the part of copywriters and designers—along with a healthy dose of skepticism from the community at large—ads like these won’t be the last, and make us all wonder how far innovation will push us this year.
We turned to leaders from the Amp community to get their expert take.
The year the robots got creative
While Ryan Reynolds may find the effectiveness of tools like ChatGPT chilling, some agency owners are exhilarated by the kind of efficiencies automation could make space for.
“We see these new tools and their capabilities as an opportunity to work smarter,” said Amanda Zarle, head of strategy at Boston-based HeyLet’sGo. Zarle points to programs like Adcreative.ai, Jasper.ai and Vall-E as leading examples, allowing agencies to empower one person to do the work of many. Still, Zarle recognizes the critical human element indispensable to the process.
“As the industry continues to explore the potential of AI-driven tools to make content creation easier and faster, we remain mindful of consumers' desire for meaningful brand experiences,” she said. “Consumers want brands to reflect their values and create meaningful connections, rather than simply producing more content. Our most effective work continues to be driven by the creativity of our talented individuals, with vivid imaginations who are able to tell captivating stories about brands.”
While great ads rely on that human element in order to succeed with audiences, the capabilities AI has today is still enough to keep creatives up at night.
“In as much as the AI boom is a testament to human ingenuity, it’s also an existential test of our ability to square technological achievements with human creativity and critical thinking, enough to give us AI anxiety,” said Eli Williams, director of creative strategy at Day One Agency. There, the topic of AI was explored in depth as part of the agency’s 2023 Predictionary, its trend report and forecast set to be published on its website next week.
“As the AI field matures and consumers warm to existing platforms like ChatGPT and DALL-E, more brands will likely explore activations and campaigns using generative AI,” Williams noted. “The ones that break through will place authentic and original storytelling at the center.”
As programs like these pick up even more speed, AI is set to disrupt creative fields across the board this year, with more and more innovation taking shape every day within a tech community committed to advancing its capability.
“The types of content we can expect to come from this technology include music, text and 3D,” said Geert Eichhorn, innovation director at Media.Monks. “As for the less obvious opportunities, I believe things like architecture, circuit boards and biological applications will also be within the realm of possibilities. Ultimately, generative AI is going to reduce a lot of production costs in design, creative, illustration and pre-production processes. And what brand or digital marketing services partner wouldn't want that?”
Technology in a time of permacrisis
That cost-saving element is critical as businesses grow increasingly concerned about the bottom line amid a period of continued economic uncertainty. Coupled with an ever-changing marketing landscape, with more and more platforms for brands to show up on, those efficiencies become even more critical.
“Given increased computational power, larger data sets, better algorithms, transfer-learning and pre-trained models, the incorporation of these technologies is now not only viable, but necessary,” said Matt Fitz-Henry, head of technology at Amp Agency. “Whether it's advertising, content development, product or service recommendations, data analysis and analytics insights, or even process automation, we are seeing technology augmentation becoming necessary in order to address the issues of required scale.”
Fitz-Henry also noted that, with exponential growth in the number of channels for content consumption, a successful marketing strategy is predicated on being able to provide hyper relevance in order to break through. He also anticipates increased incorporation of AI and machine learning in business operations, changing the way brands collect data, deliver personalized experiences and communicate with customers who continue to demand more from said brand experiences.