An AI for ‘creative advertising ideas’!

Sorry! It’s another AI post, but this is the one I was waiting for: something specifically and deliberately designed for creating advertising ideas! (AND strategies!)

When I say I was waiting for it, I don’t mean from a sense of delight that my job would now become much easier, or from a sense of dread that my job would no longer exist; I mean that I have been keen to see how an AI would go beyond the more general abilities of Chat GPT to attempt to replicate what we do.

First some background:

According to this article, “The team over at uses an AI tool to help advertising creatives become unstuck and experiment with new creative directions. Aaron Adler developed Adler is a former agency Creative Director who is now a front-end Software Engineer and UX Designer. This AI tool generates creative advertising ideas.”

I looked up Aaron’s site, hoping to find his portfolio of work, but no such luck. He appears to have pivoted exclusively to UX design-type stuff, and bills himself as a ‘front-end software engineer’. There are a couple of other ‘Aaron Adler Advertising’ results that appear in a Google search, but I can’t tell if they’re him.

The reason I wanted to see his work is that these days ‘former agency Creative Director’ doesn’t tell us much. He could have made lots of award-winning ads, or zero. He could be a CD in a design department, or front-and-centre in TV production. But I want someone who creates this kind of AI to prove their bona fides about knowing what a good advertising concept is, otherwise how good can the AI’s ideas be? For me, the fact that he’s now a ‘front-end software engineer’ is a bit of a red flag. It’s an odd pivot for an advertising creative to make, especially one good enough to generate an AI offering that provides executional concepts in various media.

Also, most of the links for this AI come from around the same time Chat GPT launched, so it doesn’t appear to use that technology, and was presumably created a good deal earlier, at a time when none of us were impressed with the creative abilities of AI in general.

But all that aside, how good is

So far, not very. I know you’re supposed to hone briefs to give an AI the ability to improve, but the results were pretty disappointing.

For example, I offered the brief, ‘The Economist can make you informed and successful’ and asked for a ‘viral film’. Here’s the result:

Description: In this viral film to promote The Economist, we reveal the ultimate secret to success: being informed. The film will show people from all walks of life, from politicians to entrepreneurs to students, reading The Economist and becoming more informed and successful. We’ll see politicians making better decisions, entrepreneurs spotting market opportunities, and students getting the grades they need to succeed. The Economist will be shown as being informative, insightful, and engaging. It will be a must-read for anyone who wants to be successful. The film will end with a call to action, urging viewers to subscribe to The Economist and join the ranks of the informed and successful.

Perhaps I’m not giving it a fair chance, after all, it offers tips to imptove output, the third of which is ‘Get a little weird. A great output can be sparked by unexpected inputs, so try different approaches. Drop unusual references like “a Johnny Cash song”, “a Seinfeld episode”, or other variations you might like to see in an output.’

Right you are! I now change the brief to ‘The Economist can make you informed and successful, tarantino movie, led zeppelin’, and receive the following updated script:

In this viral film to promote The Economist, we present a journey of a person who gets inspired by The Economist’s content. We’ll watch how reading The Economist transforms them from being ordinary to being extraordinary. We’ll watch as they become more knowledgeable about the world and develop a deeper understanding of complex issues. We’ll see them discussing topics at dinner parties with friends, impressing their colleagues at work, sharing fascinating trivia with family members, and even winning a game show. The film will end with a call to action, urging viewers to subscribe to The Economist. Along the way, we’ll hear music and see clips of Quentin Tarantino movies and Led Zeppelin, emphasizing the importance of being a well-rounded and informed individual. With The Economist by your side, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Er… OK. New brief! ‘The Economist can make you informed and successful. Let’s see something groundbreaking and original, as if written by someone at Wieden and Kennedy in its prime’.

In this viral film to promote The Economist, we celebrate the power of intelligence and knowledge. We see a man and a woman, both on their first date, talking about topics ranging from politics to science to philosophy. Instead of talking about the weather or their jobs, they’re engaging in stimulating conversation about what’s happening in the world. We see them getting turned on by each other’s intellect and wit. They exchange numbers and start dating. We watch as they both continue to read The Economist, become more informed and successful people, and eventually become power couple in their fields. The message is clear: intelligence is sexy. The Economist can make you informed and successful, and that makes you sexy. Smart is the new sexy.

I don’t really know where to go from here. Should I keep trying? One more! ‘The Economist can make you informed and successful. Let’s see something groundbreaking and original, as if written by Hunter S Thompson on a particularly crazy acid trip’

In this viral film to promote The Economist, we enter the mind of a Hunter S. Thompson-esque character on a crazy acid trip. The character reads The Economist and suddenly finds themselves transported to a wild and surreal world, where news and economics come to life. We see characters made out of graphs and charts, surreal landscapes populated by political figures, and a rollercoaster ride through the economic trends and upheavals of the last 20 years. It’s a chaotic ride, but the character emerges at the end with a newfound clarity and understanding of how the world works. The message is clear: The Economist can make you informed and successful, even in the wildest of times. The film will end with a call to action, urging viewers to subscribe to The Economist and get on board for the wildest ride of their lives.

I give up.

Maybe Aaron would justify all this by saying that it’s a jumping off point rather than a polished finished article. Maybe he’d say that it’s still in Beta (although he’s charging for it, so…). Maybe he’d say that I need to spend longer chucking different briefs at it. But the above ‘scripts’ (let’s face it: they’re still miles away from being usable scripts, even at a conceptual stage) don’t seem to deserve the further effort.

You can give it a free trial, and I’d be interested to know how strategists feel about its creations. But from a creative point of view it’s basically useless.

Maybe it will improve, maybe it won’t, but it’s not worth paying for, and you’ll get better ‘jumping off points’ from Chat GPT for free.

I’ll leave the last word to Aaron’s most recent tweet:

Amen to that.