Media.Monks readies launch of generative AI service for clients
The company plans to build client package around experimental Generative.Monks team.
Media.Monks’ AI package will aim to make creative production faster and cheaper, its execs say
Media.Monks is developing a suite of AI creative and production solutions that will soon be launched to new and existing clients.
The new offering will use generative AI tools against creative and production briefs. It comes on the back of the hype surrounding ‘generative’ AI applications such as Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT last year.
In response, digital and creative agencies are racing to move on from ad-hoc experimentation and present discrete, packaged solutions to clients.
Seeing increased interest and demand from advertisers, Media.Monks is set to bring such a package to the market in summer. Geert Eichhorn, innovation director, said that until recently, the group had focused on educating clients on the potential of AI tools and consulting on how they might prepare for their introduction further down the line. Increasingly, however, it expects to use tools such as Midjourney to create, test and produce creative content and campaigns.
Eichhorn believes that client demand means the market is ready for defined AI solutions. He says: “It’s getting a lot of hype right now, but for us, it feels like we’ve been on this train for a while.”
First established in 2018, Eichhorn says that until recently, the Generative.Monks team consisted of around 20 ‘enthusiasts’ across four continents who worked on AI and machine learning projects alongside their other work. Now, the company is expanding that group and hiring to increase its capacity.
In particular, Eichhorn is looking for generalists able to quickly learn on the job, as the market and technologies available evolve.
“My team of creative technologists are able to jump into different types of tech stacks,” he says. “The field is moving so fast that I don’t want a Python guy or a cloud engineer, I want somebody that can learn something new really fast.”
Eichhorn says the agency’s AI offering won’t dampen its need for traditional advertising skills, though. “We don’t want engineers running creative campaigns, we want them to make the tools for our creatives to be using these tools. The best person to control ChatGPT is a copywriter; the best person to speak to Stable Diffusion is a designer or a photographer or an art director that speaks the language of creativity. We want to give those people superpowers.”
Though the agency is “agnostic” towards which tech it employs, adds EMEA chief growth officer Maria Nordstrom, saying that strategic partnerships struck with OpenAI and Google are in play.
Despite interest in generative AI applications rising in recent months, Eichhorn and Nordstrom say the agency will promote it primarily as a cost-saving or efficiency measure. “What we see is not necessarily clients saying ‘Hey, we want generative,’ it’s more about how we can do a process quicker or more efficiently. Generative is not a goal, it’s a tool,” says Eichhorn.
“It depends on what each client is looking for and what they're coming to us for, right, we're still in the learning phase,” adds Nordstrom. “We’re looking at creating these bespoke solutions that encompass things like design or automation in production, that drive efficiency.
Previous campaigns created by the Generative team largely fall into that category. Nordstom says it recently used generative AI tools to create a set of brand avatars for an unnamed sports brand. “We’re seeing the impact; we’ve created content quicker, we’ve been able to connect with people faster and still in an engaging and emotional way, and it’s driving ROI and sales.”
“AI is radically changing the way marketers produce content. It’s where the future is going. And because we’re specialists in that space, we’re able to create an offering that will drive efficiencies, that will provide a different way of creating content at scale.”
Nordstrom and Eichhorn hope Generative.Monks offering will be able to compete with other agencies, and with startup firms looking to cut into the digital marketing space.
“Agencies are all trying to dip their toes into this space. I’m not sure they’re as advanced as us in what we’re doing, advancing with a full team dedicated to AI.”
Eichhorn says “there are specific startups that can do one thing super cheap, but we’re worried about the quality and ability to scale. A big brand doesn’t want to work with 35 startups. Us being tech agnostic, and being able to integrate across the board is really powerful there.”