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Thanks to AI We Can All Enjoy More Chicken


AI is going to actually allow us to be more creative than ever, writes Joe Public's Brandon Govender

Thanks to AI We Can All Enjoy More Chicken

In 2018 Joe Public created an ad called Sbu 2.0. In it, the hero made a lifelike android to take over the daily tasks he considered tedious, from teaching classes to grocery shopping, and even going on dates with his girlfriend. The point of all this? So that he could spend as much time as possible eating the Chicken Licken pieces he craved.

Fast forward to 2023, and the marketing and advertising industry is starting to wonder if we should all become a little more Sbu as EVERYONE is talking about AI. This has caused more than a little panic, as creatives start to wonder if their jobs are in jeopardy and their crafts about to go extinct. Or at least replaced by computing power. I’ve even seen smug commentary from those who relish the prospect of creativity finally not being the exclusive domain of those temperamental weirdos we call copywriters, art directors and designers. 

Apps such as ChatGPT are being heralded as the answer to the copywriting and creativity void we didn’t even know existed. Ryan Reynolds even used it to write an ad for Mint Mobile. At one point I considered doing the same to write this article, but then my inner Creative Director kicked in and said “Been done.” so I moved on.

But what I have done is recycle the following paragraph that I wrote in 2019 on this very subject: “As a human I would love perfection, but I also know that nothing could ever be perfect (which is also my convenient excuse for why I’ve never created a perfect ad). The quirky and the slightly flawed is somehow more attractive than the perfect. 'Insanity over sanitised' is how I like to think of it. Got Milk? could never have been created using AI. It’s grammatically incorrect. Imagine how much poorer we’d be as a society if everything we created could only have been done by a machine?”

But I’m not here to knock progress. Far from it.

In my opinion, AI is going to actually allow us to be more creative than ever. We can stop spending all our time creating the 95% of work that is wallpaper and lacks impact, and instead focus on making the other 5% even better. So much better that the ratio changes and we have less wallpaper. What an amazing thought, create the wallpaper with less effort so that we can produce less of it in future.

Of course not everyone is interested in the 5%. A copywriter I spoke to recently told me that the head of her agency proudly proclaimed that ChatGPT and Midjourney was going to replace the creative department at the agency. I was surprised that they valued their creative product so little, and cheekily offered her a job. She accepted.  She realised that I value originality, insight and authenticity far more than robotic efficiency.

That’s not to say that we don’t produce quite a bit of wallpaper work ourselves. But we are at least actively working towards getting the ratio being more favourable. What we don’t want to do is be happy producing the kind of work that could actually easily have been done by AI tools. You see, in the same way that something like ChatGPT relies on inputs or prompts, the output of any creative agency is determined largely by the brief, strategy and creative direction that goes into it. So if the expectation and mandate is to just churn out work that is safe and quick, then you’re never going to push the boundaries of creativity.

When that happens there is no perceptible difference between the wallpaper work produced by humans and what basic AI programmes could create in a fraction of the time.

That is not the business of creativity.

If you are experimenting with AI or already using it, I hope you’re doing it to free up extra time for human creativity and not to simply produce more wallpaper communication for clients. I know that’s going to be my approach, in our mission to reduce our own amount of work that makes little or no impact. Our clients pay the same amount for media, whether we’re filling up the space with world-class creative work or wallpaper, so why deliver anything less than maximum value for the brands we serve?

Let’s use the opportunity to create exciting ideas that will shake things up and get noticed. And while we’re at it, use some of that extra time we’ve now got to enjoy more pieces of delicious chicken.

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Joe Public, Tue, 07 Mar 2023 08:37:00 GMT