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Anatomy of an Ad podcast: how The Hijinks Collective is using AI for good

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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

March 13, 2023 | 5 min read

In this week’s episode, creative director Tamryn Kerr tells us how her new agency used AI system Dall-E to generate images of an earthquake-struck Britain to help keep Turkey and Syria in the news.

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Anatomy of an Ad podcast / The Drum

A few weeks ago, London-based agency The Hijinks Collective released a set of horrifying images that showed what notable UK landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Manchester’s John Rylands Library and The Birmingham Bull Ring would look like brought to the ground as a result of a potential earthquake.

The project, titled ‘AI Aid’, was in response to the devastation faced by people in Turkey and Syria after the mammoth earthquake of February 6.

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Many people have been horrified at the scenes, but even an awful event can be difficult to continuously keep in the headlines. Knowing this, creative director Tamryn Kerr and her team at The Hijinks Collective wanted to reach people close to home and keep the catastrophe front and center of their minds, encouraging them to donate money to the UN relief fund.

On how the campaign came to fruition, New Zealand-born Kerr said: “I was watching footage of the floods in New Zealand and while it was a devastating flood, it was nowhere near comparable to what’s happening in Turkey and Syria.

“It occurred to me that the reason I connected with it so much was that those were the supermarkets I used to shop at, it was my friends’ houses and the streets I used to roam around as a kid.

“It hit me emotionally. I was talking with one of the other creators at Hijinks, going back and forth with it, and we thought maybe we can use something that’s really zeitgeisty at the moment like AI to quickly generate these images and imagine that they were over here, to potentially get them in the news headlines again and raise money.

“Getting projects like this in headlines, if it can have a positive benefit of raising money, then that is the goal.”

Of course, the conversation about the use of AI in creative industries is a hotly debated one, but it is something Kerr feels strongly about. “It’s a tool and it needs to be thought of as exactly that. It’s like anything – there are people that use it for good and people who don’t. It’s a democratizer when you think about the fact that we can create stuff like this so quickly. This incredible tech is going to help democratize so many things. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface

“And I’m not worried about it stealing my job. Maybe that’s naïve, but I’m certainly nowhere close to being worried about it.”

To hear the full interview with Kerr, check out the Anatomy of an Ad podcast on Spotify. You can also listen to last week’s episode with Leo Burnett Chicago. Next week we’re chatting with Cadbury and Kantar about all things Christmas advertising, so don’t forget to subscribe.

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