One year ago, an ‘AI creative agency’ would have seemed like science fiction. No longer. ‘Faith’ was set up by Peter Gasston, creative innovation lead at VCCP. What’s the idea behind this new agency? Gasston says “We’ve taken an actively positive view that the responsible use of AI is an accelerator of human creativity, not the opposite.”

In other words, AI empowers creatives rather than replaces creatives. AI itself is not creative in any way. It’s a new tool for the creative arsenal.

Anyone can create an image using AI – but not everyone can create a good image. And AI can inspire ideas, but it still requires an artistic human eye to develop them.


Quick recap – what’s different about generative AI?

Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to create content. It is different from other forms of AI, such as predictive or prescriptive AI, which focus on predicting outcomes or making recommendations. Instead, generative AI creates unique content based on data input.

But how? Basically, it works by analysing a large dataset and identifying patterns and relationships. This data can come from a variety of sources, including text, images, and audio. The algorithms then use this information to create a wide variety of new content – everything from product descriptions to marketing copy and from social posts, to images and video content.


What are the potential problems?

Because AI-generated content is produced by an algorithm, it may lack the creativity and nuance that a human could bring to the content creation process.

There are also concerns around the ethics of using AI to create content, particularly when it comes to bias and discrimination.

Copyright infringement can also be an issue, depending on which data set has been used to train the AI and how transparent AI companies are about that data. As I write, there are already several high-profile lawsuits surrounding generative AI and copyright. We’ll have to await the outcome of these legal challenges, to know how this technology will evolve.


There’s no going back. So what’s the way forward?

Regardless of the worries, AI is here to stay – however disconcerting that may be.

The decision now for advertisers and agencies is how to harness the power of AI to boost, not hinder, creativity and performance while somehow retaining trust with consumers.

The capacity of generative AI is already mind-boggling whether that’s using text prompts to create images and videos or simple sketches being turned into fully rendered 3D models.

So, what does that mean for creative jobs?


Creative individuals bring personality and strategic focus

Machines cannot understand the nuance of brand identity and personality. They cannot tell a story or stich together a narrative, and don’t know which emotions to stir, to elicit the desired response. They have no moral references to make the right cultural decisions, promote diversity and inclusivity, or to interrogate a brand’s purpose.

As Steve Jobs said:

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”


How should agencies adapt?

There is no doubt that Generative AI is affecting the way we think about human creativity. All sorts of companies are already testing and applying this technology to promote higher levels of productivity and creativity.


But we shouldn’t forget that this technology is still in its infancy. We need to do a huge amount of deep thinking, both within companies and society more broadly, about the role Generative AI can and should play in creative processes.

Rob Sayles* says we should ask the following questions about AI in marketing:


– Can AI augment current process and delivery/output for my agency [or marketing department]?

– Are our current processes clearly defined (so we can test AI augmentation)?

– Should we start by testing on a low-risk task? (eg: graphics, subject lines)

– What are the risks of AI getting it ‘wrong’?

– What are the benefits of AI getting it ‘right’? (eg: new angles, greater volume)

– As leaders, are we prepared to embrace new approaches to service delivery?

– How does the team feel about AI?

– Are the team already trying AI in their own time/off the side of desks?

– Does their AI usage create issues for compliance/regulation/IT impact?

– Is it clear (leadership down) that augmenting production would allow us to move to a more strategic & critical thinking position?

– What admin/internal functions can be improved by AI? (think ops, PM, etc)


The really important consideration for AI is to make sure you’ve got current processes and data on point…


What’s your strategy for AI?

Fully automated creative outputs are probably not going to be the way to optimise creativity – rather, those in the creative space will need to become ever-more adept at getting the best out of these tools, using the right prompts and moderating the output.

There are clear benefits in leveraging Generative AI to aid creative development. While the technology is new, companies need to start engaging with the possibilities now – or risk being left behind. We need to consider the role this technology will play, when used responsibly, in shaping the most meaningful brands of tomorrow.


Learning your craft in the AI era

I believe that AI will have a bigger impact on marketing than any other advance or invention in our lifetimes. It will be an important tool for creatives to learn – they will need to know how to get the best possible results from a prompt and how to manipulate prompts to achieve the relevant output. But it will always require human creative direction to fit brand identity, nuance output, and express personality.

Of course, since generative AI is still in its infancy, there are many new platforms out there. Which ones will still be around in a years’ time? Which ones have been trained ethically? And which ones should you invest time in learning to use?

Large software companies are investing huge sums in AI integrations. This shows they’re serious and see AI as a core part of their future offering.

These integrations are a good place for young creatives to focus effort. The AI tools should be learnt alongside ‘traditional’ tools like photoshop etc.

But even as we learn how to use these new tools, we need to remember that creativity is a human trait. It takes imagination and inventiveness to come up with creative solutions, to generate or recognise ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in problem solving. AI is only a tool to help facilitate this, so cultivating those core skills will be key.


A crazy thought to finish

If AI learns from existing large data sets, what happens when these data sets evolve and start to include AI generated content that was flawed?

If we stop creating original content and rely on AI, how is AI going to evolve?

It’s certainly food for thought.


This intelligence was not artificial.


We make the complicated simple.


Rob Sayles

Ops Consultant for Agency Owners

**Image header created by the author in Adobe Firefly: AI has difficulty in creating hands.