Artificial Intelligence and Advertising Creative: Doom or Boon?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”


Written By: Curt Westlake, Creative Director

The race to own the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space is playing out in front of us at a blinding pace, and we’re all going along for the ride whether we like it or not. Here are some thoughts about what the current tools can offer marketers, writers, and designers. Creative advertising agencies are starting to embrace AI and here are three of the ways that AI tools are being used by advertising agencies, courtesy of the AI tool, Bard:

  • Automating tasks: AI tools can be used to automate tasks such as keyword research, ad copywriting, and image optimization. This can free up  resources to focus on more strategic and creative work.
  • Generating creative content: AI tools can be used to generate first draft creative content such as ad copy, blog posts, and social media posts. This can help agencies produce more content more efficiently without having to hire additional skilled creatives.
  • Personalizing campaigns: AI tools can be used to personalize campaigns by targeting ads to specific audiences. This can help agencies to get a better return on investment from their advertising campaigns.

What’s out there?

Profiling all the current and emerging AI tools is not the focus of this blog, but a quick overview provides some helpful perspective. Text generating tools are out ahead of design, imagery, and video tools in terms of awareness and adoption. Right now, the big three can be characterized as follows:

  • ChatGPT is best suited for tasks that involve interacting with users in a conversational manner and providing contextually appropriate responses based on user input.
  • Bard is best suited for text generation tasks that require a high degree of creativity, versatility, and adaptability.
  • Jasper is best suited for tasks that require the analysis of large amounts of unstructured data from a variety of sources to extract insights and inform decision-making.

My experience so far is that the writing generated by ChatGPT is a little more natural, but Bard tends to present information in a more organized, tighter fashion that suits digital media and our short attention spans. On the design, graphics, and video side of things there are several AI tools that have been developed. Adobe Sensei,, Uizard, Fronty, Khroma, Midjourney and others that can be used to create art, designs, enhance images, and create drawings.

First impressions: Artificial Intelligence is amazing for creative advertising.

creative artificial intelligence visual

If you’re curious enough about the topic to read this blog, you’ve probably already played around with ChatGPT or one of the other new apps in the AI space. And yes, they’re amazing.

The speed with which they can generate coherent text in response to almost any question or query is astonishing. For speed and quantity these new tools get high marks.

Some of the pros of the text generator AI tools include:

  • Efficiency: AI tools can help agencies be more efficient by automating tasks and generating creative content.
  • Cost-effectiveness: AI tools can help agencies save money by increasing the efficiency of human labor.
  • Accuracy: AI tools can help agencies be more accurate by targeting ads to specific audiences.

It’s not bad writing…but not exactly good either.

Here’s what you get with AI generated copy and content: the results are logical and generally well organized. The writing is clear, but flat and generally is lacking any kind of personality, emotion, or flare.

Sometimes these tools feel the need to embellish the facts of their narrative. One of the first things I did before starting this blog was ask ChatGPT to write a couple paragraphs of web copy for the Crawford website. The resulting copy was clear, organized, and generally accurate. The writing was competent, yet flat. However, ChatGPT did go off the rails a bit. While we’ve won lots of creative awards, it made up all kinds awards we have not won. So, buyer beware when it comes the veracity of AI output as it exists today.

Some of the other cons include:

  • Bias: AI tools can be biased, especially if they are not trained on a diverse dataset.
  • Transparency: It can be difficult to understand how AI tools work, which can make it difficult to trust their results.
  • Search shortcomings:  AI-generated copy may not be optimized for search engines.
  • Weak targeting: AI-generated copy may not be tailored to your target audience and don’t have the ability to understand their needs and wants. 

An experiment.

As part of this exercise, I thought to myself, let’s get lazy! In addition to doing some research using ChatGPT and Bard, I was curious about making this entire writing effort moot. I’d get them to do the blog for me. I made the following query:

 I need a 600-word blog post that discusses how advertising agencies are using AI tools such as Bard, ChatGPT, and other new AI tools. Specifically, I would like to know what the pros and cons of various tools are and finally, whether creative people should worry that copywriting and design will be taken over by AI.

For your reference, here is a link to a PDF of the Bard generated blog. And here is a link to a PDF of the Chat GPT version.

One of the first things I noted was that the ChatGPT blog was 1,330 words and the Bard one was 495 words. So, clearly they don’t take direction very well. That’s a rookie error. Their output was very helpful in helping me identify possible subject matter on the topic and framed up the outline that I have used here. It saved me time, there is no doubt about that. As acknowledged previously, you can see a handful of bits that I have lifted from their output. Hopefully, my blog is evidence that humans can write more engaging content than AI. You be the judge.

Conclusion:  Artificial Intelligence a tool for creative advertising.  Not a panacea.

The cautionary note offered here is that, depending on AI output exclusively without a talented creative person making it accurate and brand relevant and giving it some personality (or should I say some humanity?), is short-sighted. Marketers who aspire to mediocrity may want to cut costs and circumvent the craft and imagination that a talented creative person brings to the work, but that’s no way to build a brand and get results in the long-term.

Where do I net out?  I’ll keep my head on a swivel, looking out for the Robot Apocalypse, but in the meantime I’m happy to use these tools to save time and money. I’ll do that with the confidence that marketers who want to succeed will still need creative, innovative ideators to move their brands forward.

In conclusion, I’ll share the ChatGPT response to a query about whether AI is a threat to creative people in the advertising business:

In short, AI like ChatGPT and Bard is not a threat to creative writers and designers in the advertising business, but rather a tool that can be used to enhance their work and increase efficiency.

It seems the bots are wanting to play nice with us creatives…for now.