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Exploring the Landscape of AI in Advertising

DECEMBER 12, 2023

In a recent panel event, Julian Douglas International CEO and Vice-Chairman at VCCP and Aex Scott-Maiden Senior Planner at VCCP U.S. moderated by Cindy Fabian, Head of Creative / Media / Sport, Silicon Valley & Pacific Northwest, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) delved into the transformative role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the realm of advertising. The discussion, rich with insights and diverse perspectives, touched upon several key themes.

1. The UK Perspective: Positive Outlook and Warm Embrace:
Julian expressed optimism and a welcoming attitude towards AI. Despite acknowledging that Language Models (LLMs) are not yet at the pinnacle of creativity, the consensus was that they can serve as sources of inspiration. The unique ability of LLMs to explore numerous problem-solving approaches beyond the typical human mindset was highlighted.

2. Efficiency and Acceleration with AI:
The discussion questioned the commonly held notion of efficiency as a straightforward goal. AI was positioned as an accelerator, capable of propelling businesses towards their objectives at an unprecedented pace. However, the industry is still grappling with defining what efficiency means in the AI context.

3. Utilisation of AI Tools in Advertising:
VCCP panellists outlined a three-phase approach to AI tool usage in advertising: the thinking phase as thought starters, making space for ideation and visualisation, and deploying the final product. The emphasis was on AI’s capability to expedite tasks and enhance the speed and scale of operations.

4. Addressing Challenges and Opportunities:
The accuracy challenge in AI, exemplified by a study with nerve surgeons, was acknowledged by Alex. Human prompting and curation were underscored as crucial elements, preventing the potential dominance of style over substance. Julian noted some brands have expressed caution, while others have seized the opportunity to harness the power of AI for creative tasks.

5. AI’s Impact on Creative Briefs:
While acknowledging the levelling-up potential of AI, it was noted that its impact on creative work might not be immediately visible. The discussion touched upon the evolving definition of creativity and questioned its influence on renowned campaigns, emphasising the enduring importance of truth in advertising.

6. AI’s Role in Market Research:
Anticipating a tenfold change in market research, the panel discussed how AI could revolutionise the effectiveness of advertising through enhanced data analysis. The UK’s Advertising Association Taskforce has been established to navigate these changes.

7. Future Possibilities and Challenges:
The conversation closed with a forward-looking perspective with a call to be curious, collaborate with forward-thinking agencies, and embrace the potential of AI echoed as a rallying cry for the industry’s future.In essence, the panel emphasised that the integration of AI into advertising is not just a trend but a transformative force that demands a proactive and curious approach from industry players.

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