AI – The intelligent choice in marketing?
Posted by: Fiona Barber - 12.05.23
AI (Artificial Intelligence) has become increasingly popular in marketing as technology advances. While it can improve efficiency, accuracy, and the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns, understanding exactly how marketing agencies currently use AI might be less clear.
In this blog, we’ll answer some of the key questions our clients are asking and lift the lid on how and why we use AI to benefit our clients, campaigns and projects.
What can AI do for marketers?
The AI systems available to us cover a wide range of uses. Some have a very focused output, while others have the ability to be applied to much broader uses. These areas are particularly relevant to our industry:
- Image generation and manipulation based on text input
- Writing generated from questions and requests
- Generating basic code from text input for task automation
- Generate 3D models from text or single image input.
How we use AI
At Ride Shotgun, we don’t believe AI holds all the answers, but it can enhance the creative process and sometimes helps us to solve clients’ challenges faster. Our use of AI tools is always driven by a desire to produce quality content more quickly and communicate ideas more clearly. Here’s how.
Bringing big ideas to life
Traditionally, presenting a new concept to a client involves collating lots of visual references to take them on the journey and give them a flavour of the idea. Working up a big idea (from the brains of our team’s genius creative minds) into multiple visuals can take significant time, budget and resources. If the idea isn’t selected and progressed, that’s potentially lost time, budget and resources.
Equally, if there isn’t sufficient time for proper creative development, clients might progress an idea without having a clear view of the final output – a risk for them and us.
AI bridges this gap by enabling quicker creation of visuals and helps us to communicate ideas to clients without such significant investment. We can produce unique images by inputting ideas and art direction into our chosen AI tools. This way, we can more efficiently help clients understand what to expect, and we spend significantly less time and resources working up ideas.
Finding or creating images like the ones below could have taken hours, days or weeks. Instead, we used AI to create exactly what we wanted by inputting a detailed technical specification, art direction and composition.
There’s a consensus for some aspects of AI that the output is only as good as the input, which rings true for this type of work. Although our team spends less time manually creating visuals, a great deal of skill and creativity goes into developing quality AI images.
What’s the catch?
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, yes. But there are limitations. While some tools allow a new level of creative freedom and art direction, including a range of styles and lighting, there are pitfalls to watch out for.
There are some real issues with accuracy. You may have seen the many AI fails – hands with too many fingers, giraffes with multiple necks – and others that just don’t look quite right. No doubt, this will improve as AI tools become more advanced.
Another issue is making minor tweaks to existing assets. Take these beer logos. We created a test asking an AI tool to put beer logos (sourced from logos-world.net) onto beer cans for a marketing campaign, including guidance on style and lighting.
Although the AI tool we used created some interesting visuals, it intentionally re-factors text to avoid direct copyright infringement, which is why it couldn’t answer our brief fully. While there are no instant wins here, we still found value in using the tool as part of the creative process to generate an output from which our skilled designers can craft and refine the ideas.
AI and copywriting
After experimenting with many copy-generation AI tools, we’ve found that although most of the content was relevant, the flow and tone were often sub-par. The most apparent problem with AI-generated writing is it’s not always accurate, which has landed Chat GPT in headlines for all the wrong reasons in the first defamation lawsuit of its kind.
Beyond the inaccuracies, ChatGPT isn’t up to date. It’s only trained on data up to 2021 and, more worryingly, has also been accused of being biased, racist and misogynistic.
In short, it can help write fairly straightforward content articles, be used as a research tool (used with caution), and generate some inspiration. But it’s another example of where the creative, human mind is needed to take a good starting point and hone it into something special.
Setting out our AI vision
We never use AI just for the sake of it. It’s a tool used only when it has a benefit, complements our teams’ skill sets and helps us solve client challenges more effectively.
Danny Austin. Technology Director, Ride Shogun
As a creative content agency that produces branding, photography, CGI images, and video, we have access to a wide range of AI tools that can help us work more efficiently and effectively. But it’s important to remember that they are not a replacement for creativity and expertise.
Still, ripples of uncertainty are being felt in every corner of the creative industry right now, with people wondering: ‘Will AI take my job?’.
While it’s impossible to know the full impact of AI in 5, 10, or 20 years and beyond, we can set out our vision for right now.
Our golden rules for using AI tools:
- They should complement our team’s skill sets and be used only to make how we work better and more efficient
- They aren’t a replacement for creative skill
- AI shouldn’t be used because everybody else is doing it
- And importantly, AI shouldn’t be used to plagiarise other artists’ work
While these tools can be beneficial, they can also be complex and challenging to use effectively.
We’ll always approach the use of AI tools with an open mind and a willingness to experiment, take the time to learn how to use them properly and experiment with different techniques and approaches.
As AI tools continue evolving, there may be new tools or features that can help achieve even better results in the future. And when they arrive, we’ll be ready to make the most of them.