Not quite yet, or in our lifetime. This longstanding narrative, popularised on the internet about AI stealing our jobs, has felt like the gospel truth for a long time, especially when what seemed to be a distant reality until last year, changed drastically with the launch of ChatGPT. It is imperative that most industries, including advertising, use the newest tech tools at our disposal. AI may be the newest and the most powerful, it is also the one that will have the greatest impact in increasing the value and benchmarks of our work. Facts are often considerably far from reality, and it couldn’t be truer for AI and marketing, specifically advertising. This article is fully in service of finding and inspiring comfort among my strategic creative comrades.
In a Harvard Business Review article, marketing was posed as one of the top professions to benefit from AI and its application on the job. Multiple surveys by consulting firms and thought leaders, in the past five years, support the idea – marketing and advertising will only benefit from AI once applied.
In a recent watercooler conversation that later became a company-wide presentation, I learned about a colleague who wrote a book – a book! – in less than a day using AI. “It’s not a very good book,” he admits throwing up his hands in the air, but it’s a book nevertheless. He used AI prompts in a text generator, added on AI-generated images to complement his (AI-generated) writings, and viola! You’ve got a book. I wish Amazon would expand to Pakistan so we could all order this AI-made marketing marvel. If you fancy it, write to me and perhaps I can franchise my colleague’s book to your agency.
Take comfort. Trust your own craft. We are going through a paradigm shift, similar to the one in the 2000s with emerging social media. Before clearing out your desks and thinking about starting a business from your kitchen, consider actually using ChatGPT. I can’t tell you how many people I have spoken to about AI and marketing who express their deep concern with conviction but haven’t once tried to integrate. Integrate, integrate, integrate! I use the word four times in less than a full sentence for good reason – as human beings, we are quick to operate from fear, and losing livelihood to robots behind a screen is all too real. We have all been there. Game-changing events occur when you decide to become the lead horse instead of falling prey to machines.
Some ad analogies from the recent past may bring some comfort and perspective.
Same bread, different slice: Where are we headed as an industry if not toward automation with human colour? The idea gives many the ick – although escaping it altogether may be all too wishful. Think about the ads on Facebook in the late 2000s, and when they finally hit our desktops. Think about the middle schoolers from that time, now in their thirties (whoa, I’m projecting) or the young adults starting their careers back then, and now in leadership roles. An adjustment nevertheless, but a change that was here to stay – it transformed digital marketing and the way we implement and conceptualise advertising. AI may just be another morsel of the same bread we worked to earn back then.
Creative guns blaze in AI’s face: Prompts for an AI generator or tool of any kind can only bring more value, as long as you know what you are asking for and where you want to take it. Consider this, a brief from a travel company may ask you to solve how to differentiate their summer travel offering from the rest. Tickets are expensive, the economy is in free fall, and consumers are starved for messaging that may offer a break from the mayhem. Literally, feed this paragraph into ChatGPT, get the basic output and brush it up with your own human ingenuity. ChatGPT cannot give creativity and colour just yet and despite it may have improved 80 times compared to when it was launched in November 2022, nuances like humour, sarcasm and emotional shortcuts (emojis) are a creative arsenal ChatGPT has yet to master.
Media must ride the wave: Where are my media friends? Louder in the back (or wherever you are). If you have received a brief where the client wants 50 creative lines for five different audience segments, you are in luck if you ride the AI wave. Experiment with prompts with your creative counterparts. Let strategy help you determine guardrails, and then you play. Not only can AI generate a significantly higher volume of copy and visuals, you will put your creative friends miles ahead of others. Feed what makes it through the creative quality, cut into your programmatic engine and viola again! You’ve got yourself an optimised campaign.
Digital marketing and advertising are at a precipice – something that tends to happen every 20 years or so. When the strategy was introduced 50-odd years ago, advertising had done without it. Yet, the introduction of strategy and planning brought in more jobs, deeper thinking and greater value. AI too may just bring in more jobs eventually, as our work as we know it takes another shift. Why are we in this business, if we are not obsessed with the processes of making ideas?
If you are a strategist or creative reading this, follow Julian Cole. Free promotion for this guy is well deserved as he synthesises an entire industry for the benefit of strategists all over the world. Here are some tools that he vouches for; and by effect of trust and credibility, I will list them for you here:
• ChatGPT (https://chat.openai.com/auth/login): Can help strategists find clichés of the category, provide insight, and support secondary and competitive research.
• Pollfish (https://www.pollfish.com/): Gives you a head-start with structural survey questions and quantitative prompts.
• Kraftful (https://www.kraftful.com/): Performs quick number crunching for qualitative data and customer feedback, and can help synthesise metadata quicker.
• Midjourney (https://www.midjourney.com/): Turns written description and copy into visual art, and elevates consumer-friendly language to insightful execution.
• Hemingway (https://hemingwayapp.com/): Synthesises and simplifies long-form writing; particularly valuable for strategy and creative professionals.
• DayDRM.ai (https://www.daydrm.ai/): Generates a strategy and creative brief to give a head-start to users – a high-value product for strategists.
• Mindspeller (https://www.mindspeller.com/mindspeller-ai/): Creates brand language and brand strategy based on prompts.
Sarah Fahim is a senior tech researcher. email@example.com