Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Mad Men vs. Mad Machines

Asrar Alam discusses the infinite possibilities AI can bring to creativity.
Published 14 Jul, 2023 02:52pm

If AI had consciousness and emotions, we would probably have offended it already with our absurd questions and grammar corrections. Imagine asking an intelligent being for help and receiving a snarky response – it’s like throwing a grenade to kill a mosquito. The point is, we should use such a powerful tool wisely. So, let’s shed some light on this hot topic everyone is buzzing about, and explore how we can find the sweet spot between human creativity and machine learning capabilities.

Imagine a world where creativity merges with technology. Today, the possibilities are endless, and AI is shaking up the creative industry, especially advertising. From storyboarding to scriptwriting, AI has become an invaluable tool for creative professionals. But before we dive in, let’s take a moment to appreciate the era we are in. What a time to be alive! Those of us born in the eighties and nineties have witnessed the incredible evolution of technology. It’s the biggest tech revolution in human history, shaping our behaviours, cultures and habits across industries. With great power comes great responsibility, and it’s up to us to navigate the line between right and wrong in the grand scheme of things. Remember when smartphones entered our lives? No one could have predicted the repercussions of increased screen time. Now, live satellite maps like Google have made most of us directionally challenged. It’s like we are guilty of outsourcing our sense of direction to technology.

To understand that this revolution is not against humans and AI can actually play a positive role in our lives, let’s put you in a situation: Picture yourself equipped with a powerful AI tool at work, something (or should I say someone) like Jarvis. You would feel unstoppable, like Tony Stark himself, bringing your craziest ideas to life in a matter of hours. You would channel all your energy and imagination, giving the AI commands to unlock its maximum potential. You would want to push the boundaries of what is theoretically possible in your profession. Why don’t we feel the same way when we use AI in creative professions like scriptwriting, ideation and storyboarding?

Now, let’s talk about advertising and how AI can supercharge our skills. Treat AI as a living, tireless co-worker who won’t take credit for your brilliant ideas. When briefing your storyboard artist, have the same conversation with AI. It can be your storyboard artist, only faster. It will not take no for an answer until you are satisfied with the results. But here comes the crucial part – striking the right balance. Let’s not make the same mistake we did with other powerful technologies in the past – relying solely on machines and letting go of our hard-earned human skills. We can be inspired by AI, but we must not forget to add our unique touch. Clients still pay for our creativity. Otherwise, we might end up in a future without illustrators and artists, a real loss for humanity. Fortunately, there are nations wise enough to strike that balance. While audio-visual content consumption has drawn us away from reading books in certain parts of the world, the West continues to preserve the culture and habit of reading and writing. It’s no wonder we see millions of books sold during launches in those regions.

Idea generation and scriptwriting are among the biggest areas where AI has proved to be immensely helpful. Scriptwriters can use AI to generate fresh ideas and improve their writing skills. Treat AI as your working partner, leveraging natural language processing algorithms to analyse your scripts and provide feedback on tone, style and pacing. Remember, you are the executive writer – ultimately responsible for what goes out. AI can assist you in uncovering resources faster, with better quality and quantity. There are numerous repetitive tasks that AI can handle within minutes when treated as your working partner. It offers a vantage point for your story, allowing you to explore it from various angles and execute it effectively. AI can aid in character development by examining hundreds of similar topics available online. It can help overcome writer’s block (if it truly exists) and serve as an excellent non-living being to brainstorm ideas with. Additionally, AI can assist with specific writing genres or film direction styles.

Now, let’s delve into the exciting realm of AI with its remarkable data analysis prowess that puts you ahead in the game. A shining example is IBM’s Watson ads that used AI to craft an interactive ad campaign for Toyota. By analysing consumer preferences, behaviours and interests, the AI algorithm conjured up personalised ads that struck a chord with each individual. The result? Toyota experienced an astounding 500% increase in user engagement. Talk about AI making waves in the advertising world! Let’s not forget the ‘Moments of Joy’ ad campaign by McDonald’s, powered by an AI algorithm. By analysing millions of data points, this algorithm generated over 1,000 ad variations, each capturing the unique moments of joy customers experience when at McDonald’s. This personalised approach propelled McDonald’s to a staggering 70% increase in engagement and a remarkable 60% surge in ad recall.

For a cinematic marvel, check out the film Sunspring. Produced by End Cue, they enlisted AI’s assistance in crafting the script. By analysing hundreds of science fiction scripts, the AI algorithm generated a completely original screenplay that served as the film’s foundation. While it may not have set the box office ablaze, it undeniably showcased the boundless potential of AI in the art of scriptwriting. Who knows, maybe AI will be Hollywood’s next creative genius!

When it comes to personalised musical journeys, Spotify takes the crown. Harnessing the power of AI, Spotify creates ads that perfectly align with each user’s musical tastes. By analysing user data, it curates ads that showcase favourite artists and songs, resulting in a remarkable 20% increase in ad recall and a 14% boost in brand awareness. With AI as the orchestrator, Spotify strikes a chord with listeners worldwide.

As we venture into the future, we can anticipate even more innovative uses of AI in the creative industry, provided we strike a balance between human ingenuity and AI’s limitless potential. It is crucial not to overly rely on AI for every aspect, as this may lead to a loss of the human touch along the way. One of the major concerns regarding AI’s implementation in professional fields is the potential job displacement. Only time will reveal how the story unfolds, but one thing is certain, it is time to prioritise the development of human capabilities and skills that are irreplaceable by AI. And who knows maybe we won’t need jobs in the future.

Asrar Alam is Group Creative Director, Spectrum VMLY&R.