We’ll Take it From Here, AI

To succeed, Artificial Intelligence requires real-life humanity.

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by Will Claflin
VP & Director of Creative Content

By the time this article comes out, anything in here may be irrelevant. That's how fast AI is exploding into our lives. Many have said that we are leaving the information age and entering the age of AI. In fact, it’s evolving so quickly that, as consumers and humans, we have never seen an era or an age advance at such an exponential level. Let's look at a quick timeline:

  • 2020: Global AI investment was approximately $40 billion
  • 2024: This figure surged to over $120 billion, reflecting the rapid adoption and integration of AI technologies across various sectors
  • By 2035: AI is projected to contribute up to $3.7 trillion to the US economy alone

We know countless articles have been written about AI. But this piece is not to debate its virtues or stave off our inevitable demise. Instead, let’s focus the lens on our industry and highlight how we are using, and can use, AI in the world of advertising.

As creatives, we work in constant need of approval. Every piece of creative work we produce is essentially a cry for acceptance and the need to be told we are doing a good job. In short, we need feedback. We need constant check-ins and gut checks on whether our open kimono moments are as brilliant as we think they are. We often have people in our lives that we trust and use as feedback loops.

Today, AI via ChatGPT, MidJourney, and Runway have yielded the greatest internal feedback loops we could ever need. Because AI is also a psychologist. It’s an account lead. It’s the greatest art director assistant you could ever ask for. But like the emergence of all new technology, it's how you use the tools that determines their utility.

Prompts are key.

If you searched for "shoes" in 1994, it was garbage in, garbage out. It took people a while to understand that the internet worked better when you were specific. Googling "show me Nike Air Jordans in purple and gray, size 8 1/2, and who has them near me" is a far cry from just googling "shoes," which everybody did the second they got onto the internet. And thus, prompts were born.

The art of using prompts is the difference-makers in yielding creative results using AI. For example, when using MidJourney, instead of asking for an image of a cowboy, you could say: "I want to see a Marlboro Man shot by John Ford on an Alexa using an 85mm at twilight. There is determination on his face as he is about to meet certain death." Still not what you envisioned? You need to push. AI will only supply you with what you have asked it for and it is very literal.

Be patient. You may need to do 10 to 15 revisions of that search in order to get the right image. Even then, you may need to take the final product to Photoshop to get it just right. Even then, it can turn what used to be an hours-long trial and error process into 30 minutes with an AI engine. So push the system. Take what you like. Leave what you don’t.

While you’re on these AI excursions, it’s important to note: AI is still missing the human element, the storytelling, and the authentic brand narrative. You, as the essential human element, still need to focus on the human aspect to sell ideas. Feeding a creative brief into ChatGPT will get you a literal translation of it. On its own, AI is incomplete. A human needs to be able to interpret through a human lens so consumers don’t scream BS.

We’re still waiting to see which engines rise to the top.

When a good handful of us were young, there was Betamax, and that’s how you saw your first movies at home: huge clunky device coupled with huge tapes. But as time went on, VHS came around and offered a more simple solution. Next it was the DVD era and now, streaming is here. In the phase of which engines will become the kingmakers, as of today, it’s ChatGPT and MidJourney. But there are other companies such as Runway and Pica, with Sora right around the corner. Udio is groundbreaking in music AI, yet no engine has separated from the pack for integrating into music or making a mark on the billboard top 100. This day will come. We’ll see which engines end up being the most successful and user-friendly but the way you prompt will remain the constant in all AI engines.

As AI moves forward, intuition might improve and the engines may be able to read between the lines. Just like with search engines, coders can adjust AI engines to adapt to the preferences and make more considered choices based on a more sophisticated algorithm. Until then, we’re still waiting for a differentiated platform to take our capabilities to the next level.

However we use AI in the future, we have a voice in what happens next. After all, the way technology impacts us is largely dependent on the human beings with the creativity to put it to good use. And again, it’s all about how we use it. We’re off to a great start. Thanks for the effort AI, but we’ll take it from here!