Generative AI Shaping Global Advertising Innovations, Challenges & Human Role
Numerous prominent global advertisers, including industry giants like Nestle and Unilever, are actively exploring the application of generative AI software such as ChatGPT and DALL-E to streamline operations and bolster efficiency, according to executives. However, a considerable portion of companies remains cautious due to concerns over security, copyright infringements, and inadvertent biases present in the underlying data feeding the AI systems. As a result, human involvement will persist in the process for the foreseeable future.
Generative AI, a technology that leverages historical data to generate content, has gained substantial attention across various sectors over the past year, captivating the public imagination and piquing interest from diverse industries. Marketing teams are optimistic that this technology will yield cost-effective, rapid, and practically boundless avenues for promoting products.
Investment in this field is on the rise, driven by the anticipation that AI has the potential to revolutionize how advertisers introduce products to the market, according to insights from high-ranking executives at leading consumer goods corporations and the world's largest advertising agency, as reported by Reuters.
In a notable instance in India, WPP collaborated with Mondelez on an AI-powered Cadbury campaign featuring Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan. The campaign generated ads with Khan urging passersby to shop at local stores during Diwali, and small businesses were able to personalize versions of these ads for their own stores. This initiative resulted in a staggering 94 million views across YouTube and Facebook for the 130,000 ads produced.
WPP is actively nurturing AI talent and fostering partnerships, including an association with the University of Oxford to offer courses centered on the future of marketing. These initiatives include a "AI for business" diploma that imparts training in data and AI to client leaders, practitioners, and WPP executives. Daniel Hulme, an AI expert, leads the team responsible for these endeavors.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, remarked that while it's easier to anticipate the disruption of existing jobs, the creation of new opportunities is often overlooked. Nestle is also capitalizing on generative AI, with its Global Chief Marketing Officer, Aude Gandon, affirming the utility of ChatGPT 4.0 and DALL-E 2 in crafting marketing campaigns that resonate with the brand while still being further developed by the creative team.
Despite ongoing debates about the extent of creativity exhibited by AI-generated content, advertisers are actively integrating this technology into their promotional strategies. For example, the Dutch gallery Rijksmuseum's research team garnered attention when they employed X-Ray technology to unveil hidden elements in Johannes Vermeer's 'The Milkmaid.' WPP similarly harnessed OpenAI's DALL-E 2 to envision scenes beyond the painting's frame for a Nestle advertisement, resulting in significant media exposure valued at 700,000 euros.
Unilever, a major player in the consumer goods sector, has also adopted generative AI for tasks like generating product descriptions and visual content. However, the company emphasizes concerns about copyright, intellectual property, privacy, and data, with Aaron Rajan, Unilever's global vice president of Go To Market Technology, underscoring the importance of avoiding biases in AI-generated outputs.
In this landscape, security-conscious businesses are cautious about potential security breaches or copyright violations. Industry experts suggest treating interactions with AI services as if divulging sensitive information, prompting a "juicy piece of gossip" test before sharing any data.
In summary, global advertisers are embracing generative AI to enhance productivity and reduce costs, though concerns about security, copyright issues, and biases persist. The technology's potential for reshaping advertising strategies has sparked significant investment, driving innovation while necessitating a careful balance with human oversight.