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Wall-E. Skynet. Deep Blue. AI ain’t new

October 2022 - Opinion


From Google searches to self-driving Teslas to strategic chess moves...

AI is certainly not new, but it's certainly started to make waves in the creative industry. But, why? We caught up with Brave Bison's Studio Creative Director, Matt Garbutt, to get his hot take on the industry's latest AI-obession and whether artists do actually have a right to worry.

So, over to Matt...

We’ve talked for a long time in Adland as to whether it, AI, will become a thing. “Can AIs make ads?” we ask ourselves, wringing our hands at the prospect of the industry’s greatest minds being terminated by Adland’s own Skynet.

Well, recently we’ve seen a couple of experiments led by bold and curious souls to try and answer that question. 

So, what’s the answer? Well, in short it’s a no (not yet at least). Thinkers and inkers across the adverse are safe for now. 

Heinz recently commissioned Dall-E to imagine a series of depictions of its ketchup, punching in keywords to get ads returned. The results vary from surreal to intelligible to, in the case of one or two, comfortingly familiar. And it’s mostly about that bottle isn’t it? When the shape’s just a bit off, it doesn’t hit.

And without copy, we’re in some twisted vision of tommy k with shades of Warhol, Matisse and more. 

10 Days also recently used Midjourney to ask and answer the same question. They took a set of iconic brands and like Heinz, stood back for a few seconds for the results to appear on screen.

All those results are over at Ad Intelligence - take a look, it’s a feast for the eyeballs with some arresting and weird results. I couldn’t see any of them in my feed though. The three-lensed Ray-Bans possibly get my vote as the most creepy. I’m guessing they asked for some Magritte on these. 

And, that’s one of the reasons we know we’re not ready yet.

These visuals are directed by humans. We’re still the hand on the wheel, telling our bots what sort of pixels to produce.
And then there’s the copy. AIs can’t write it yet. At least, not ad copy with wit, humour, sadness and gladness. Without a human and emotional connection, there’s no ad. AIs don’t have empathy, vulnerability, intuition and all those things that make us, us.

So, these experiments work in a world where AIs advertise to other AIs for now. But AIs don’t have any need for ketchup on the chips they don’t eat. That might sound reactionary. It’s not meant to be, I’m an early adopter and interested in playing with this tech to see where it leads us. 

Introducing the Bison Bot...

At Brave Bison we’ve been watching these developments with interest. They've led us to develop a longer form AI copy tool which we've been on our own journey of discovery with. The results in development ranged between the strange and something like bang on. Following more than six months of iteration, we've now had six months of success, not as an AI running on its own but as a machine learning assistant to our real life copywriting team. It means we can now deliver larger volumes of onsite copy for our clients more quickly and economically - better ROI with quality being maintained. So, our humans are the vital augmentation and creative direction for our Bison Bot.

How long we’re safe in our jobs for is a question I can’t fully answer though. We probably have a few years before AIs are banging out ads and we find ourselves in some sort of uneasy alliance with the intelligence...

...but, it’ll be fun finding out.

Matt Garbutt, Creative Director, The Studio

The Studio is BB's collective of curious and questioning souls. We write, design and deliver campaigns across the digiverse to give our clients the results they need.
Want to chat all things creative? Slide on into our DMs, we'll stick the kettle on.

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