The advertising industry is in a love-hate relationship with artificial intelligence.
Over the past few months, technology has made it easier to create and track ads. It’s writing marketing emails with subject lines and delivery times tailored to specific customers. it gave an optician Helped and helped set up a fashion shoot on an alien planet denmark tourism bureau Bring famous tourist places to life. Heinz turned to it to generate recognizable images of its ketchup bottleThey were then combined with the symphonic theme that depicts human evolution in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
However, AI has also put the marketing world in jeopardy. Much has been made of technology’s potential to limit the need for human workers in areas such as law and financial services. Marketing executives said advertising, already hit by inflation and other economic pressures as well as talent drain due to layoffs and increasing automation, is especially at risk of an overhaul by AI.
The conflicting approaches hit a co-working space in downtown San Francisco, where more than 200 people gathered last week for an “AI for Marketers” event. Copywriters expressed concern and skepticism about chatbots capable of writing advertising campaigns, while start-up founders advocated for AI tools to automate the creative process.
“It doesn’t really matter whether you’re intimidated or not: the tools are here, so what do we do?” said Jackson Beaman, whose AI User Group organized the event. “We can stand here and do nothing, or we can learn how to implement them.”
Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence that uses data and algorithms to simulate how humans learn, has been quietly driving advertising for years. Madison Avenue has used it to target specific audiences, sell and buy advertising space, provide user support, create logos, and streamline its operations. (One advertising agency has a special AI tool called big labotsky To help clients create ad copy and promote their profile on search engines).
Gradually enthusiasm came. In 2017, when advertising conglomerate Publicis introduced Marcel, an AI business assistant, its peers responded with “outrage, mockery and negativity”.
At last month’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the glitzy top of the advertising industry calendar, Publicis had its “I told you so” moment. Around the festival, where the agenda was filled with panels about AI being “promoted” and affecting “the future of creativity,” the company ignored custom made posters which mocked Marcel’s original responses.
“Is it OK to talk about AI in Cannes now?” The ads poked fun.
The answer is clear. Industry wants to discuss something else since late last year OpenAI releases its ChatGPT chatbot And started a global arms race around generative artificial intelligence.
McDonald’s chatbot asked the name of the world’s most iconic burger and the answer was Big Mac Video and billboard, drawing AI-generated responses from fast food rivals. Coca-Cola recruits digital artists to generate 120,000 refs on its brand imagery, including its curved bottle and swoopy logo, using an AI platform created in part by OpenAI.
The growth in AI use has thrown up a number of legal and logistical challenges, including the need to protect reputation and avoid misleading consumers.
A recent campaign by Virgin Voyages allowed users to inspire the release of Jennifer Lopez’s digital avatar customized video invitation For a cruise including the names of potential guests. But, to prevent Ms Lopez from using inappropriate language, the avatar could only speak names from a pre-approved list and otherwise defaulted to words like “friend” and “sailor”.
“It’s still in the early stages – there were challenges getting the models right, getting the look right, sounding right – and there are a lot of humans involved,” said Brian Yamada, chief innovation officer at VMLY&R, the agency that developed Virgin The campaign was prepared.
Elaborate interactive campaigns such as Virgin’s make up a small part of advertising; 30-second video clips and captioned images, often with variations lightly adjusted for different demographics, are much more common. In recent months, several big tech companies, including Meta, Google and Adobe, have announced artificial intelligence tools to handle this kind of work.
Major advertising companies say the technology can streamline a bloated business model. Advertising group WPP is working with chip maker Nvidia on an AI platform that could allow, for example, car companies to easily Include footage of a vehicle Effortlessly filming various commercials from around the world in scenes adapted to local markets.
To many people working on such ads, AI advances seem like obsolescence, especially in the face of several years of slow growth and a shift in advertising budgets from television and other legacy media to programmatic ads and social platforms. Media agency GroupM predicted last month that artificial intelligence is likely to affect at least half of all advertising revenue by the end of 2023.
“There is no doubt that the future of creativity and AI will be increasingly intertwined,” said Philip Krakowski, chief executive of advertising giant Interpublic Group of Companies.
IPG, which had been hiring chief AI officers and similar executives several years prior to the introduction of ChatGPT, now hopes to use the technology to deliver highly personalized experiences.
Mr. Krakowski said, “That said, we need to apply a very high level of diligence and discipline and collaborate across industries to reduce bias, misinformation and security risks in order to keep up with the pace of progress.” Is.”
AI’s ability to mimic and cheat, which has already found wide public expression political marketing From Florida Governor Ron DeSantis And others have worried many advertising executives. They are also concerned about intellectual property issues and the direction and pace of AI development. Several advertising agencies have joined organizations such as the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, which seeks to trace content from its origins, and the Partnership on AI, which aims to keep the technology ethically sound.
among doom and gloomAgency Wunderman Thompson decided to take AI down a peg this spring.
In an Australian campaign for the Kit Kat candy bar, the agency used text and image generators from OpenAI to create an intentionally funny ad with the tagline, “AI created this ad so we could get a break.” in one, scribbled distorted figures on bland chocolate bars over script described in a mechanical monotone: “Somebody give them a Kit Kat bar. They bite.”
Annabelle Barnum, general manager of Wunderman Thompson in Australia, said it will be more difficult to scale up the campaign now, as rapidly improving technology has removed many of the gaps that existed a few months ago. Still, he said, humans will always be important in the advertising process.
“Creativity comes from genuine human insight – AI has always had to contend with this because it relies solely on data to make decisions,” he said. “So although it may enhance the process, ultimately it will never take away anything that makers can really do because that humanistic element is needed.”