Courtesy of Apple

When I saw the recent Apple “Crush” advertisement showing a gigantic press crushing all kinds of musical instruments, paints, recording equipment and so on, I gasped. As a lover of music and art, it was deeply disturbing to me.

Advertisements that evoke any kind of emotion generally have achieved their goal of getting the viewers to engage. The hope, of course, is that ads that engage consumers would get them to buy more of the brand’s product. This time, the reaction was different though. It was a mix of admiration (that Apple once again managed to get attention to their brand, which has always been known for iconic ads), fear that music and art as we know it may not exist in the future and be replaced by devices and, outrage at the suggestion that music and art as we have known it may no longer be relevant. My conclusion was that Apple blew it and, in a very tone deaf way, insulted the very industry that it provides products to, as well as the users of Apple products who have been able to enjoy music and art everywhere they are.

Did Apple really intend for us to stop going to concerts and art shows, and instead to sit at home with our iPads?

A few weeks later I shared that ad with my team, but for a different reason. It was to illustrate that while it is not the iPad Pro alone crushing the creative, there are several other forces in the market transforming the creative industry, and that all of us in the advertising industry need to be aware of and embrace the changes if we do not want to be crushed like the musical instruments in the video ad.

Generative AI is a powerful force transforming industries. The creative industry is perhaps feeling the greatest transformational impact. Tools are available today to create images, videos, copy and even compose songs via LLMs that have scoured the earth to “learn” how to do this. Thanks to the power of millions of GPUs and the limitless power of cloud computing, such tools can, in a matter of days, consume, process and learn from trillions of pieces of content, written copy and all forms of media to become almost as capable as humans in producing content. It is as if we suddenly discovered a way by which a newborn could overnight, gain all of the knowledge and capabilities of an adult who spent a lifetime learning all of the things they know.

While this does mean that creative technologies built before this era of Gen AI may quickly become irrelevant, every promising technology once promised to “crush” and change an industry also has its naysayers who dismiss such technologies as impractical and overhyped. The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.

About a year and a half ago, I presented an image to our management team in a powerpoint of a man staring into the sky. I asked the team what was special about it. I got various answers and then I said dramatically “you are looking at the future of creative in advertising.” I then explained to a set of puzzled faces how I had used a tool called Dall-E to generate the image by prompting it to show me a man looking into the future. We all had a moment of silence.

Immediately after that, we started speaking with brands and industry leaders, leading to the conclusion that Generative AI could and should be incorporated into creative development and optimization tools for one simple reason that has proven true today: an image is not an ad.

An image is not an ad, neither is a line of copy or a video, no matter how it was generated

Yes, an image is not an ad, neither is a line of copy or a video, no matter how it was generated.  

An ad, much like the Apple ad, needs to persuade someone to take action. Regardless of how marketers classify ad campaigns as “upper funnel,” “branding,” “lower funnel,” “performance,” “direct response,” and so on, the purpose of the ad ultimately is to persuade the viewer to buy.  An image or a line of copy or a video by itself–even if produced by an algorithm–will not accomplish that. Instead this generated content needs to be integrated with the elements unique to the brand–its brand identity, its products and a powerful call to action that ultimately is what will persuade the viewer to buy. It does however mean that ads can and should be produced using AI automation: better, cheaper and faster.

For the last 12 months our “Jivox Labs” team has been hard at work not just adding GenAI to our dynamic creative platform but transforming the way ad creative is developed by integrating and incorporating AI into every aspect of the workflow of generating and precisely delivering personalized dynamic creative.  The results are stunning, but we are not done.  We are using GenAI not only to turn images and copy into ads but also transforming images to fit the ad without having to edit the images, extracting elements from image ads to re-generate various sizes of ads, providing creative insights for ads, incorporating branding elements into ads and using campaign performance data to optimize ads.  We have already reduced the effort to launch a campaign to 1/10th what it takes traditional creative tools to do. We are challenging ourselves to change the question from “how did my ads perform against the audiences they were delivered to” to “how do I use data and AI to determine the best audience for my product, generate personalized ads and deliver them in the right context.” This is our vision for the future of building AI driven creative – automated and intelligent.  

We have already reduced the effort to launch a campaign to 1/10th what it takes traditional creative tools to do

So while Apple was wrong to crush the creative industry, it was right about the transformation of the creative industry by a whole generation of creative tools (some of which are on the iPad) that are harnessing Generative AI technology to automate several aspects of building ads. Jivox is already leading the way.

Let Jivox help you automate a winning campaign today.