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Hey ad folk, AI isn’t taking your job… it’s taking your shit work

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

If this were Reddit I’d say throw a “remind me in ten years” comment so the bot could let you know if I was wrong or not. But I’m guessing I won’t be*.

I’ve been working with AI art and copy (mostly via Midjourney and ChatGPT) for awhile now and I’m not scared of it. In fact I’m totally embracing both. AI art puts unlimited creativity in our hands AND cuts some of the shit work. Midjourney is a great way to work through visual ideas. ChatGPT is particularly good at handling repetitive tasks, such as generating headlines or crafting social media posts.**

Can you write 50 banner ad headlines in three hours?

This happens all the time and I don’t hate to let clients behind the curtain to know it’s absolutely painful. It’s not that we don’t want to help or that we don’t understand your goals or the importance of testing, it’s just these take time from that bigger thinking clients want us to do. Yes, they pay us for anything we create but you get more bang for your buck when it’s bigger thinking.

Here’s a scenario that’s happened to me quite a few times (read all the time). We’re working on conceptinga new campaign for Q2. Big ideas with tactics big and small. This takes a lot of time and brain power.

All of a sudden we get a request to write some new performance headlines to test. It’s only 15 headlines which shouldn’t take a lot of time right?

Well, those 15 headlines are probably more like 50.

The writers are going to do a round of some good stuff, the CDs will give feedback, the writers will go back and make tweaks which we bring to the strategy and account folks to gather their feedback. More tweaks and those quick 15 headlines become a day or more of work that has 15 going to client and 30 in the bin.

That also means we lose a day, probably a day and a half of concepting this awesome thing we want to make for Q2. We’re seeing brands like Airbnb and more spending more on branding than performance these days because it’s the right thing… so where do you want your team to spend time?

While everything we put out should be amazing if we’re testing new lines they really just need to be good enough to learn. Then optimize, learn more and repeat. And it should be quick.

screenshot of me asking chatgpt how long it would take to write 50 facebook headlines and it answering that it would take about an hour
ChatGPT isn’t perfect and it lied here… it takes under two minutes

Can you write 50 banner ad headlines in three hours, chatGPT?

What if instead of passing those lines off to the creative team we asked chatGPT to do it? We pop in the brief and the most important messaging. We train it on some of the lines that have performed well in the past. We go to grab a coffee and before we can even place an order chatGPT spits out some lines for us.

They might not be gold (I think we will get there soon though) but they’ll be enough to review, evaluate, tweak and send off quickly to test.

And your creative team will thank you*** because they’ll now have more time to spend on bigger, more strategic projects and** making awesome stuff.

I played around with this a bit an will show my experiment with this soon…

*I mean it will take some jobs but those will be replaced with new. Photoshop changed the retouching world but people who retouched photos by hand moved to using photoshop. Digital photo killed film processing but while we used to have a handful of folks at the lab we now we have one or maybe more digitechs on each photoshoot. New tech breeds new jobs.

**I popped this into chatGPT to give me some suggestions on making this article better but to keep my voice. It added the italics bit in where my words were too broad.

*** as long as you keep budgets where they are. AI in these instances shouldn’t be pulling budget from creatives. Because AI won’t let your brand stand out like the work your creative agency will do. It will however give the creative team more time to think of that bigger and more strategic stuff.

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