AI Can Save Time, But It’s Not Saving Advertising | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

AI Can Save Time, But It’s Not Saving Advertising

By James Avery

Advertising growth swells year by year, with or without artificial intelligence (AI). At face value, AI is a statistical model that predicts what will come next and like other tech innovations, it can certainly help optimize processes faster; but it won't necessarily revolutionize the advertising industry. The reliance on AI today is obvious in how quickly it has been placed on a pedestal of being a saving grace within the advertising industry.

Yes, AI can be a helpful and innovative tool to minimize time on mundane tasks. It can empower us to work smarter and make data-driven decisions that can lead to more effective advertising campaigns. However, let's take a moment to reflect on this question: When did we stoop to a new level of forfeiting the human element necessary for creative ideation in favor of robotic algorithms?

Here is why the human element piece, that has been subtly discarded from today's advertising conversation, should remain a foundational centerpiece over AI's bandwagon hype.

AI can only get you so far, so find the right balance.

AI's increasing role in advertising is not without its downsides, and one significant concern is the erosion of the human element in AI-driven campaigns. At the root of advertising's foundation, campaigns have always relied on human creativity and intuition to craft compelling and emotionally resonant messages.

With AI taking the reins, advertising could become formulaic and lack the emotional depth humans can infuse to make memorable and impactful connections. The world of advertising has become this balancing act– a dance between AI-technology, human creativity, and emotion.

However, if there is a lesson advertisers can glean from this, it's that AI can only get you so far. Let's use Proctor & Gamble as an example. They can have a multitude of tools at their disposal, such as AI and API-powered native ad platforms and customer data platforms (CDPs), to better understand and optimize where and who to show their ads to. But if those tools aren't leveraged as advertised (no pun intended), it defeats the purpose of AI and what are you left with?

The point is this–AI-driven tools, on their own, can't invoke the emotional response from a customer to convince them to buy a Proctor & Gamble product. To achieve the desired results AI-driven tools must be utilized in conjunction with human creativity. That is why traditional advertising techniques, with subtleties of human emotions and connection, shouldn't be discarded so easily.

Advertising doesn't need AI's cookie-cutter approach, but it does need creativity.

AI's dominance in advertising has the potential for creating oversaturation and a lack of diversity in content. Algorithms often rely on existing data to make decisions, and if this data is biased or limited, it can perpetuate stereotypes and homogeneity within advertising. This could result in a cookie-cutter approach, where campaigns cater to the lowest common denominator rather than embracing the rich tapestry of human experiences.

That is why the human touch, with its ability to challenge norms and introduce fresh perspectives, is crucial for fostering creativity and inclusivity in the advertising industry. Yes, AI is driven by information it has been fed from humans; however, letting AI-powered technology takeover advertising's creativity will ultimately result in an advertising void.

AI can't solve for loyal customer interaction the way advertising can.

An overreliance on AI in advertising may lead to a de-personalization of the customer experience. Many consumers highly value the personal touch and individualized interactions that human advertisers can provide. When AI takes center stage, there's a risk of alienating customers by bombarding them with automated, impersonal messages that fail to resonate and connect on a meaningful level.

Striking a balance between the efficiency of AI-driven advertising and the personal touch of human creativity is essential to maintain strong customer relationships and brand loyalty in an increasingly automated world. AI undoubtedly offers tremendous benefits to the advertising industry, but the enduring importance of the human element can't be overstated. Advertising doesn't need saving from AI, what it does need is innovative tools like AI to create efficiency and ensure advertisers are keeping with the demand and pace of the consumer market.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


James Avery, founder and CEO at Kevel.