With the rapid evolution of technology, the adoption of AI tools in advertising has opened the door for new opportunities, as well as new challenges. Checking in with industry experts, we asked agencies for their predictions on how the deployment of AI will evolve next year in advertising and marketing.
"If 2023 was the year we realized we are heading into the most productive era of human history thanks to the power of generative AI, then 2024 will be when the industry wakes up to the fact that AI has created understanding at scale. Customer experience as we know it will be totally transformed with generative AI design and UX."
“AI is both the biggest challenge and opportunity for our industry today. It will fundamentally change advertising and marketing, industry verticals, and society at large. No one has quite figured it out yet, so we need to keep experimenting. We envision AI as a catalyst for an inspiration economy, enhancing human creativity by eliminating the tedious aspects, “the perspiration” of creation. Think of AI not as artificial intelligence but as augmented imagination.
We see AI as a sparring partner for our teams, pushing us to make things in new ways, like new kinds of art and advertising we couldn't make before. We anticipate AI ushering in a creative and strategic renaissance, accelerating creative iteration and automating execution and production processes which will allow creative and strategic minds to focus on big ideas and solutions for client problems. Ogilvy is currently using all kinds of AI, and what we see is that AI will boost human creativity, but the breakthrough ideas and the work that rises above the clutter will still come from people, making us value originality and innovation even more.”
“AI is moving so fast that predictions are a little tricky. But AI tools will continue to optimize the creative process in 2024, streamlining things like storyboarding, initial language gen and other rote tasks. Backend AI will also continue to get better at optimizing marketing strategies—by tracking the performance of creative work in-market. In terms of creative campaigns, a lot of work in the past year or two has embraced the novelty of AI as a theme (e.g., Heinz’s “Ketchup AI” idea). But AI is also getting better at producing full campaigns (see: the spec Adidas spot that got a lot of attention recently). How quickly credible AI creative work advances is anyone’s guess, but it will be fun (and a scary) to watch.”
"A.I. Ketchup" Heinz | Rethink Communications
"In the year ahead, AI will help with some of the busy work; it should free up more time to focus on ideation and strategy, which could lead to stronger ideas. We’ve all become a bit time-starved, and AI should help us focus on what matters most. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see an overall aesthetic shift within the marketing world. Generative AI allows us to create unimaginable things, which I think will lead to some exciting breakthroughs.”
“Like anything else, there are good and bad versions of AI. The good AI has become an integral part of our strategic toolkit over the past year. It has helped our team glean insights out of vast amounts of information and accurately test hypotheses much more efficiently. It has been particularly helpful in accelerating our new business development where we need to get smart fast. That said, the tool cannot replace the humanity that is necessary in strategy and the creative industry as a whole. People are not data points and percentages—they are human beings. Over the next few years, I believe AI will continue to help us become more efficient when it comes to synthesizing, but we must not lose sight of the vital importance of the human perspective, experience, and oversight that makes truly meaningful work.”
"If 2023 was the year of AI experimentation, 2024 will be the year of implementation. That’s not to say that implementation will be seamless. Brands have a lot to consider and work through first: consumer privacy, bias in the data, and appropriately and ethically compensating artists. Despite these and other challenges, marketers who still haven’t put AI to work are undoubtedly feeling a healthy sense of urgency to get started, especially behind-the-scenes (e.g., assisting with efficiencies and creative optimization). We’ll likely see a parallel push to solve the challenges of AI and discover more meaningful uses for it.
Fear of AI will begin to dwindle next year (at least as a topic), particularly when it comes to AI taking away people’s jobs. There will be more focus on how humans can use AI like an assistant, or as a means of supercharging their capabilities. We are still a long way off from AI working independently of humans, and we also can’t trust the output of AI creation implicitly. So, as people begin to see AI as a manageable part of life, rather than a threat, they’ll recognize they need to embrace the technology or be left behind."
"No longer a novelty, it’s becoming ubiquitous. We’re at the cusp of a revolution, driven by two forces: the rise of ground-breaking innovative campaigns that will reshape consumer engagement, and the seamless integration of these technologies, invisible AI, into the very fabric of our industry."
"Fixing the biAs" | MullenLowe MENA initiative
"2024 is primed to be the year of accelerated AI adoption, in which AI will graduate from a strategic initiative to an integral part of personal and professional daily life. AI-enabled and more broadly accessible automation tools will enable marketers to automate both routine and traditionally creative activities, leading to format-portable and data-driven content creation at scale. The greater integration of conversational AI will lead to insight democratization, wherein actionable information will be available across the functional spectrum from technologists to data scientists to creative marketers.
Easier mining for content metadata and AI-powered connected data and decision engines will accentuate the “person” in “personalization at scale,” enhancing customer interactions while addressing emerging privacy and ethical considerations. While companies may not move at the speed recommended by pundits, 2024 will be an exhilarating year for the data-driven marketer wherein possibilities imagined in the past become reality for individuals and enterprises."
"In 2023, generative AI represented the bleeding edge of AI. Marcus Thomas has used AI tools across almost all of our departments for over a decade to help deliver solutions more effectively and efficiently, but we approached generative AI very cautiously given its general experimental state. 2023 was a year of experimenting with the technology; understanding its strengths, weaknesses, and risks; and developing plans for when, where, and how it would be appropriate to use.
2024 is likely to bring a harsh dose of reality on the overhyping of generative AI: lofty expectations will not be bet, the legion of startups related to generative AI will see its ranks shrink, consolidation will happen with a handful of market leaders emerging, and legal battles will start to conclude and provide a great idea of how to think about generative AI from a legal perspective. (We can also only hope that companies stop touting generative AI as part of their solutions as they try to ride the hype cycle.) Toward the latter part of 2024, this shaking out will provide greater clarity on the future of generative AI: where it can provide the greatest value; how it can be leveraged in a safe, secure, and legal manner; and which providers are the most reliable and secure partners to use."
“I think next year we are going to accelerate conversations around implementation and bringing more AI executions to life. We expect to see advancements in the space that will enable us to use generative AI in more consumer-facing executions (vs. concept). But with that, the industry will have to figure out how to ensure these assets are responsibly produced (copyright safe, unbiased, etc) and billable. Naturally, clients will expect efficiencies, as they should – and agencies, as well as asset providers like Adobe or Getty, will need to determine the value of AI generated ideas. Is it licensing fees, cost per asset, pass through to client, resources to manage, etc.
The other thing that I foresee is more impact at an accelerated rate. We have seen ChatGPT and others in the generative AI ilk continue to develop. I was excited to see how another new entrant, Pika 1.0, could potentially transform video development (think Midjourney, but it creates video and you can add prompts for camera movement). It might not be as curated, bespoke or ownable as something we’d shoot with a high-profile director, but it provides an alternative, and could impact how we handle social video or how clients with low budgets reach parity with those who have larger coffers. It also shows the potential impact on yet another sector, CGI and video production.”
"LLMs will expand their capabilities to include search, clicking on the web and APIs. This will move them beyond chatbots and make them more useful for things like customer service, HR, and other administrative jobs. More broadly, it may mean that we start to see a shift in consumer behavior from search to these products as they improve."
"We're predicting AI is about to shake things up in content creation and interaction. We're moving away from those clunky, robotic prompts to something way more natural, like just having a chat. It's going to make creating stuff, whether it's articles, art, music, movies, or even video games, as easy as talking over coffee. We're looking at a future where anyone, regardless of age or the medium they prefer, can bring their ideas to life effortlessly. It's a game-changer for all sorts of industries, and the sky's the limit for the possibilities."
"In 2023, we have seen an unprecedented level of interest and excitement in the enterprise workspace, but AI remains in the 'exploratory' stage, perhaps mostly due to regulation (or lack there-of) and lack of applications. However, with the promise of better conversational and generative AI applications, with a pre-trained model, our clients are bringing it to in all aspects of their businesses - sales/marketing, HR, IT and especially in CX (customer experience) and we will keep investing with our clients in that direction in 2024."
“To me creativity is a distinctly human characteristic. While I strongly believe that AI is a valuable tool in aiding human creativity, it will always lack something to replace creative concepting.
But what it does do is fearlessly streamline many aspects of the job we, as creatives, do. It widens the possibilities of creativity in the same way the internet age revolutionized typography and photoshop software (and others alike) did to photography. It helps us get to familiar places much faster, and possibly catapult us to newfound places we couldn’t afford to go to before. But the path that the work takes is still something only the human mind should navigate.
For example, in the Heinz A.I. campaign where Rethink asked AI to draw ketchup - revealing Heinz shaped bottles over and over again - they used AI imagery explicitly for the ads. But this only made sense as an expansion of the fantastically humanly thought-out territory that if it’s ketchup: “It has to be Heinz”.
There’s a contemporary awareness requisite for conceptual thinking that advertising creatives need to bring that is almost as important as how beautifully everything needs to look. And that to me is irreplaceable. Yes, we are only limited by the tools that we have, so AI is ultimately a creative mind expander, and not (as of yet, and hopefully never) a replacer.
The influence this will have on the industry will ultimately be defined by what our agencies, leaders, and our clients decide to do with this newfound time and budget. Creatives still need the same (preferably more) time to get to good ideas, even if the technology allows us to jump a few steps along the way.”
Thank you to our contributors: