Things Creatives need to know about Generative AI

Generative AI should be used to bolster human creativity rather than replace it


Generative AI certainly promises to make content quicker and cheaper for marketers. However, speed and price aren’t always the most important factors for a creative generation as offshoring offers the same benefits. So why is creative concepting rarely offshored today?

City dwellers in London or New York are no more ‘creative’ than in countries with lower wages. The tools are more or less universal, communication instantaneous, and ideas can be crowd-sourced at pace.

Why would any brand pay more for the same calibre individuals using the same tools and time frames?


The answer is as intuitive as it is rational. And is as applicable to Generative AI as it is offshoring:

  • Human connection 

Firstly, when humans get together in person, we are more creative. Anyone who has been part of a creative process knows this to be instinctively true.

Human connection is needed to fuel creativity – to make two minds greater than the sum of their parts, and oxytocin is required to create human connection. AI can produce creativity, but would AI have created impressionism, Brit-pop, or modern dance? Of course not. Genuine creativity requires human connection to build tensions that result in entirely new neurological pathways being built.


  • Efficient processes 

Secondly, humans value efficiency. We don’t like spending two hours writing a brief when we could spend 30 minutes on it, and then discuss it with the person we are briefing to, with the same output. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it is simply true. You don’t read all the instructions in a manual if the diagram will suffice. We are time-poor. If anything, we need to be even more precise to brief in Generative AI.


  • Diverse minds

Finally, we value diversity. We want to interact with cognitively diverse minds. We may well enter a world where we can interact with different types of generative AI with different personalities (it’s certainly a common ‘hack’ to ask ChatGPT to play a specific role) – but surely we would rather build relationships with individuals we trust?


Using AI every day 

Generative AI won’t entirely replace human creativity, much like offshoring hasn’t replaced creative agencies.

Generative AI is supercharging human creativity today. This will accelerate as Moore’s Law renders Generative AI yet more effective, but I see three strong use cases in action every day.


  1. Bringing ideas to life at pace

Getting buy-in for creative concepts can be tricky. But Generative AI can help by showing initial concepts to clients brought to life to explain an idea in context. Creative ideation can be costly and take a long time in the early stage of a project. Generative AI can be a real lifesaver in helping to sell in your leading ideas through the likes of MidJourney.

The key is to understand the constraints. Generative AI simply can’t conceptualise. It can recognise typical features of cars, but can it ‘draw’ a car that is operationally sound? No – because it doesn’t understand the concept of a car.

The trick is to use Generative AI to get an idea to a point where it notionally makes sense, rather than assuming it will provide the finished product.


2.  Driving inspiration at speed

Sometimes a plethora of left-field ideas is key. By briefing ChatGPT or an equivalent, specifically asking for ideas that combine different industries or asking ChatGPT to take a specific persona can help the ideation phase accelerate at pace. Ask ChatGPT to imagine being a crazy scientist coming up with new ideas for an ad campaign or imagine fusing the best ideas in space exploration with the challenge you’ve got at hand.

From asking MidJourney to imagine a partnership between adidas and Harry Potter, right through to asking ChatGPT to ideate around a partnership between SpaceX and Toblerone, generating creative outcomes that combine disparate inspiration can inspire human creativity at pace.


3.  Doing the heavy lifting in research and editing  

Open AI can play an important role in validating ideas. This can take two different forms. Firstly, “reviewing this brief, please explain the pros and cons of idea x” is a key prompt.

Secondly, accelerating desk research. In helping to find external data sources that support an idea. As Open AI integrates with more datasets, this will likely replace the majority of desk research we do today.

Creativity can be achieved by pushing the boundaries of existing concepts; fusing different disciplines; or reimagining prevailing assumptions altogether. Generative AI isn’t the answer to our creative challenges, but there is no reason to believe it can’t be used to bolster all three areas of human creativity.


As featured in Creative Brief