A blessing and a Boogeyman: advertisers warily embrace AI

The advertising industry has a complex relationship with artificial intelligence (AI). On one hand, AI has made ad generation and tracking much easier. It can create tailored marketing emails for specific subscribers and assist in creating unique and creative visuals for campaigns. For example, Heinz used AI to generate recognizable images of its ketchup bottle, which were then paired with a symphonic theme in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

However, AI has also caused a crisis within the marketing world. There are concerns about the potential for AI to replace human workers, which is already a challenge due to economic pressures and increased automation. Advertising executives fear that AI could lead to a complete overhaul of the industry.

These conflicting attitudes were evident at an “AI for marketers” event in San Francisco, where copywriters expressed worry and skepticism about AI-powered chatbots creating ad campaigns. Meanwhile, startup founders pitched AI tools for automating the creative process.

Despite the varying opinions, AI has been quietly powering advertising through machine learning, a subset of AI that learns from data and algorithms to mimic human behavior. Madison Avenue has used machine learning to target specific audiences, facilitate ad buying and selling, offer user support, create logos, and improve operational efficiency. Some ad agencies even have specialized AI tools, such as the Big Lebotski, to assist clients in composing ad copy and boosting their search engine profile.

Overall, while AI brings both benefits and challenges to the advertising industry, it is clear that it is here to stay. Learning how to effectively apply AI tools will be crucial for marketers moving forward.