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Chatbots Advertising

This foul-mouthed, time-poor chatbot might be the creative director of the future


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

July 27, 2018 | 4 min read

Could the creative director role ever be filled by a bot? And could a digital creative director ever be as annoying or clichéd as the real thing?

creative director bot

Bad-tempered chatbot Creative Director Bot was created by Archie Challen and Rob de Souza.

Despite the efforts of would-be chief marketers and agency heads to frantically upskill and retrain for a digital, global future, it’s worth bearing in mind that not every advertising job will survive the tides of time. Indeed, the David Ogilvys and Bill Bernbachs of 2030 may be little more than talkative collections of code. At least, that’s the suggestion made by Creative Director Bot, a chatbot built by young creatives Archie Challen and Rob de Souza.

Creative Director Bot is a digital creative director eager to offer nuggets of withering criticism to creatives with time to spare. Regardless of the quality or relevance of your idea, CD Bot will wryly reply with a note of rejection like ‘What would it look like as a gif?’, or ‘Give it a bit more texture.’

The project came about, according to Challen and de Souza, following a conversation with their real life creative director, SapientRazorfish’s Dan Evans, about the future of advertising with AI. “We decided to put it to the test. CD Bot comments back with the same sass as any stereotypical douchebag creative director would. We went around the creative department and collated the most annoying, cliché and meaningless comments that have been given out when reviewing work, and built them all into our bot.”

Challen and de Souza’s beta version of the bot currently offers hundreds of unique responses, each disquietingly familiar to anyone who has to regularly pitch ideas to a boss or editor. And while the project was something of a joke to begin with, the duo say the exercise was worthwhile.

“While we have created it as a tongue-in-cheek dig at old agency clichés, it has given us a good insight into building bots even at a very basic level. We are always looking to research the latest trends in technology and understand how they can be used in advertising, whether that’s a self-initiated project like our bot or something useful for brands. We think advertising has become more than just TV scripts and billboards, which is why we always try to build stuff.”

While Challen and de Souza say their creation “works great as an online chatbot”, their next goal is to bring the autocratic AI to life as an Alexa Skill. The pair, who currently ply their trade at SapientRazorfish as a junior creative team, have also created Creative Assembly, a platform inviting creatives to discuss issues around the integration of robots and AI into the creative industries.

To gain more insights into the working world of tomorrow, grab a copy of The Drum’s August issue, where we hear from WPP chief transformation officer Lindsay Pattison; find out how workspaces, advertisers and agency models are changing with the times; and question whether machines could ever replace marketers.

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