A Creative’s Adventures with AI

As a creative, until recently AI was something that was thrown into a presentation to tech it up. I remember working on IBM and looking for ideas to sell and communicate what their AI system Watson was all about.

Watson helped organizations predict future outcomes, automate complex processes and optimise employees’ time.

But never once did I think it was there to help me.

But now, thanks to my time at Wunderman Thompson, I see it as a serious contender for my go to tool. For many creatives, getting used to digital-first thinking was hard enough and now AI looks like it’s taking us to a different level of brain ache.

Speaking personally I think traditionally creatives are creatures of habit and tend to trust their own brains over something that sounds alien.

We also don’t like change much either. But we are not that stupid and know change will happen.

Especially now.

Since covid, effective digital strategies have become super important to our clients. Especially now given the major changes in shopping behavior and its subsequent inflationary pressures.

With this acceptance, more and more people are talking about the emergence of AI.

We hear how AI is going to be able to think the way we think.

We hear how AI is super effective are targeting and connecting with consumers.

We even hear how it doesn’t need to sleep.

But that’s what tech savvy people are saying.

But what are creatives saying now that AI is a real player?

Firstly, I guess it depends on who you ask.

Some say that AI is the end of inspirational, out-of-the box thinking. Others say AI is going to make the work boring and lacks the ability to have emotion or to be weird. And as a new recession looms, some are saying that AI is all about cutting us out.

I can understand why some creatives would think this way. I heard the same from typographers when Macs took over and then later, when we all needed to ‘be more TikTok’. Yet a few miles down the road we have adapted to so many changes and are now using them to do award winning work.

Take this beautiful campaign that won the first-ever Creative B2B Grand Cannes Lions. It’s for an AI-powered solution, created for architects to generate custom color palettes. It’s a great example of the creative using AI to bring an idea to life.

Another great example is this award-winning idea from BT that’s uses AI to draw a line under hate speech in football. Not only does it make the creative better, it adds scale and collects data instantly.

There is no getting away from computers doing human jobs. But that is the case everywhere, in every sector.

I went into a supermarket recently and I filled a trolley up, paid and walked out without seeing a single store worker. My car keeps beeping at me when I drive irregularly. It’s life and we must accept that. May I suggest not only except it, but embrace it. That’s what I am trying to do. I am lucky enough to work with the best data and tech teams in the business.

Smart beyond belief.

What I have learned is that AI is an incredible tool that can help us be more creative.

It may even make us better creatives.

It has not been developed to make us all into Zombies.

It’s here to help us see things we previously would have missed.

Do things we couldn’t do before.

It’s no different from the smartphone or laptop you are reading this on. Helping us speed through our thoughts. Giving us info and popping up with unique thinking.

AI is just like that.

Predicting and analyzing.

A true helper that helps us look at things differently.

And let’s face it. Given where technology is taking us and the capabilities it’s affording us, it feels like the perfect time to ‘AI yourself’.

Weave it together with our wildest thoughts.

It’s not as if we are not already using it to make our lives better.

Your iPhone with face unlock

That’s AI.

I get this example is helping you and not taking your job. But AI can help you be even better at your job. Because when you really use AI to bring out creativity, a Cannes Lion GP can happen.

I spoke to Alex Steer our global chief data officer, who is making sure AI is being taken seriously around the network, and he said: “Asking ‘will AI ever be creative?’ is the wrong question. Anything can be creative if you use it to create. AI helps creative people see new opportunities and do what everyone else thought was impossible. Like so many other tools, AI makes truly creative people more valuable to businesses and to society , not less. “

So, what am I saying. Or should I say, “what am I doing?” AI is a valuable tool that is helping me create different ideas, faster and more efficiently. It’s not perfect and some times throws out some weird stuff. But it’s a valuable tool that’s here to stay.

And as one open minded scholar once said. “For those who only have a hammer, everything they encounter begins to look like a nail.