AI in Advertising: Separating Hype from Reality

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Cory Treffiletti
April 4, 2024
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Cory Treffiletti
CMO, Rembrand
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AI has taken the advertising world by storm, promising to revolutionize the way we create, target, and measure ads. It’s all we talk about.  It’s almost hyperbolic, and yet we continue to focus on it.  Amidst the excitement, it's crucial for marketing leaders to separate the hype from reality and approach AI with a strategic mindset.  After all, the AI has to serve a purpose other than simply checking a box on the list of innovations you are looking to achieve this year.

While AI can undoubtedly enhance our advertising efforts, it's not a magic bullet. Implementing AI effectively requires a deep understanding of your audience, clear objectives, and a willingness to experiment. Of lesser excitement, it also has to be used in a way where you still have control over your brand, and the AI cannot be permitted to “hallucinate” and change or refine your brand in some way you didn’t anticipate or allow.  It's essential to focus on measurable outcomes, invest in the right tools or talent, and prioritize transparency to harness AI's potential, driving meaningful results for our brands.

Moreover, as we embrace AI, we must navigate ethical concerns, such as data privacy and algorithmic bias. Striking a balance between leveraging AI's power and maintaining the human touch that resonates with audiences is key. After all, advertising is about creating emotional connections, and no machine can replicate the spark of human creativity and empathy that is created by the human brain.  Humans are not as purely logical as a machine and that fact always surfaces during the creative process of advertising.  Human minds are inherently affected by bias as well, but we can identify that bias and remove it willingly whereas a machine cannot yet be trained to do so.

As marketing leaders, it's our responsibility to approach AI with a blend of enthusiasm and pragmatism. We must ask the right questions, challenge assumptions, and continuously assess the impact of AI on our strategies. By doing so, we can separate the hype from reality and make informed decisions that benefit our brands and our audiences.

The future of advertising is undoubtedly intertwined with AI, but it's up to us to shape that future responsibly and to the betterment of our campaigns. By approaching AI with a critical eye, a commitment to ethics, and a focus on delivering value, we can unlock its potential and create advertising experiences that truly resonate.  Then, AI becomes a tool to allow us to perform better rather than something we have to be wary of, or be reluctant to use.