Are You There Creativity? It’s Me, Davey.

Andrew Tuzson sitting in front of a wooden door with smoke billowing around him

Davey Owens – CMO

“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.” —Elon Musk

There’s been a lot of tales on the dangers of creating artificial intelligence that may be too intelligent. Stories that paint a picture of a dystopian future not too dissimilar from the storyline of I, Robot or one of the many sinister episodes of Black Mirror.

In the world of marketing, however, that dystopian future has a lot more in common with the humans of Wall-E than it does the people of I, Robot. Plain and simple, we’re getting lazy and we’re killing creativity in the process.

I’m not one to fight against technology. I’m a cheerleader in the advancements we’ve had. Technology is curing diseases and performing life-saving operations. It’s making possible the future of living on another planet. It’s feeding families and whole villages that would otherwise be starved without it. My issues with technology is that it’s also replacing creativity with Hubspot template popups. It’s replacing artististry with automation, and marketers all over the world are making consumers’ lives dull and boring.

Casual downtown office meeting of young professionals

I’m a self-proclaimed Facebook advertising pro. I can create Facebook sales funnels that have high conversion rates in my sleep now. I put hours, sometimes even days, into creating the targeting for my campaigns. If I’m selling local organic dog food, I know I can target local consumers that purchase dog supplies and organic groceries. I know that people who are buying themselves organic groceries have a high propensity of also buying their dogs organic groceries. I know all of this because technology has made it possible (and easy) for me to find. But I also know that people are more likely to engage with appealing ads with blanket targeting than they are with shity ads with pinpoint targeting. Again, my issue isn’t with artificial intelligence. My issue is with people that stop there. People that put 95% of their time into that targeting and making sure all of the pixels and analytics and Hubspot funnels are in place, and only 5% of the time creating compelling copy and imagery to support the advertising. Besides, if your agency’s services primarily rely on software to perform your deliverables, what’s to stop your clients from taking the same 2-day online course that you did and running that software themselves?

We work in a commoditized industry. We have people like Tai Lopez teaching thousands of teenagers how to create social media agencies that charge $700 a month. We have agencies that plug-and-play software into their clients websites that handle the bulk of the work. All of these people are guilty of boring the ever living hell out of us with their bad copy and unimaginative creative. In a world of Milli Vanilli marketers, let’s go back to celebrating creativity in advertising.

To show that technology (software, AI, IoT, whatever it may be) and advertising can go hand-in-hand, here are a couple of my recent favorites of the two being married and beautifully executed:

Marilyn Manson – We Know Where You F***ing Live

Misereor – The Social Swipe

Adidas – Boston Marathon personalized videos