Creative Artificial Intelligence Brand Strategy

Don’t underestimate the power of the creative AI community to get behind a cause

By Matt Garbutt, Creative director

Brave Bison

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The Drum Network article

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March 28, 2023 | 6 min read

For The Drum’s deep dive into AI and web3, Matt Garbutt of Brave Bison argues that the generative AI community is a creative force to behold – just look at the agency’s recent work with the WWF.

An AI-generated rendering of a panda bear

Brave Bison’s Matt Garbutt on generative AI and the power of the creative community behind it / Credit: Brave Bison / Matt Garbutt

Are we seeing the first signs that the hand-wringing over generative artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to be replaced in adland by people using the tools in practical ways? Heeding the warning that ‘AI won’t replace us, someone using AI will’, we’re seeing the hype dying down; instead, we’re applying our minds to increasingly creative use cases.

In AI’s breakout year, our bot friends are about to blow up big for brands. Coca-Cola announced its partnership with OpenAI to use ChatGPT and DALL-E to deliver creative content at speed. Mattel is using DALL-E for ideas for new Hot Wheels cars. Slack has adopted ChatGPT; many other well-known systems suddenly have AI-powered assistants. New tools are revealed seemingly every day.

Anyone who uses the likes of DALL-E and Midjourney will know that a few famous brands are in the datasets, ready to be called upon to make the imaginary content we’ve been seeing in our feeds over the last few months. Generative AI is largely still the preserve of big players – at least when it comes to the machines rendering their products and logos. And where big brands go, others follow.

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AI and the power of a wide-open brief

But what about non-profits? Generative AI tools have huge and, until recently, untapped potential for charities on a campaigning level. Generative tools offer an economic route to content creation at scale – handy at a time when charities especially are feeling the pinch. Non-profits have no products to render in campaign material, making it simpler to make impactful creative. They also have deep support from motivated and engaged communities; since these tools are now in anyone’s hands, content creation is even more democratized.

Put all of that together and you have a potent cocktail for impact.

Timing is always key. And while I’d love to call on numerous examples of how and where charities have mixed that cocktail and served it to the world, I know of only one: a campaign Brave Bison ran for the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) recently.

The story goes that we were talking about what else we might do for the WWF. World Wildlife Day was fast approaching, WWF was challenging brands and sports teams to remove natural references from their logos for the third year running, under the #worldwithoutnature campaign.

A simple thought flashed up. What if we used generative visual AI to imagine what a world without nature might look like? WWF immediately agreed to it.

The creative AI community immediately threw the weight of over 4,000 motivated, conscious and energetic creators behind a simple brief: use Midjourney to ‘imagine’ a world without nature.

Against that open brief, the resulting work from the community covered a range of responses. As we watched the pictures that were in our heads rendered into pixels on the screen, it was often hard to look at. We saw future dystopia laid bare; the ghosts of extinct animals and robotic pet replacements. But we also saw hope in some of the work. Only a week after it was briefed, it was all over LinkedIn, where the community is mostly located.

With many agencies engaged in sustainability programs, and groups like Purpose Disruptors sitting among us, Adland recognizes the fight of our lives. Creators in the AI creative community are also often environmentalists, and the community was ready for a brief and cause to unite behind. Most of its work has been self-initiated and experimental. Here was an opportunity to make an impact; to flip the common trope of AI subjugating mankind on its head and use the tools to hold a mirror to the damage we’re doing to the world. And the community did.

Hopefully, we take note and the images made for the campaign remain artificial.

For more hot takes and cold hard looks at the emerging tech landscape, check out The Drum’s deep dive on AI to web3.

Creative Artificial Intelligence Brand Strategy

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Brave Bison

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