We’ve all heard it, the robots are coming! Forecasters tell us that nearly half of US jobs will be replaced by AI in the next 10-20 years. If you work in marketing, none of this may surprise you, as AI is already here operating in force.
It is said that that many technologically savvy consumer marketers are more interested in precise targeting and achieving short term responses than in the long-term health of their brands. Consequently, critics say that the creative standards of advertising have declined. In old fashioned terms, we already live in a direct response world where measurement trumps building long term associations!
This said, AI is not only here to stay but it is set to advance and advertising will not be immune from this advance. Can we therefore expect robots to be creating our advertising anytime soon? The answer is maybe yes, as its already being done on an experimental basis. Despite this, the good news for creatives is that the results so far are judged as only moderately creative!
If human being were rational, I guess it would be a lot easier to use machines to create effective advertising that builds and sustains brands. However, the evidence is overwhelming that our decisions are very much emotionally driven, which is why engaging customers at an emotional level is so important. To do that, we need to do the next thing not the same thing! In other words, we need big ideas, ideas which are relevant but unexpected and machines are not likely to be able to produce those for a long time yet. Optimists would say never!
It seems therefore that Creative Directors have no need to fear that robots will take over their jobs in the next few years. Nonetheless, this is not a time for resting on creative laurels. They, like the rest of us, need to take note of the comments coming from some big clients that too many agencies produce small ideas, dressed up as something they’re not. Irrespective of robots, the message is clear. If we communication people want a future, really big ideas are very much it!