It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me – is what I hear AI whispering into my ear at night as it infiltrates every single aspect of my daily life. Rendering me completely incapable of deciphering what is real and what is a shockingly good deep fake.

Ok, I might be being dramatic. But then again. I might not.

We’ve heard Ariana Grande singing Drake songs, Rihanna dueting with Beyonce and The Weeknd lending his vocals to a whole new song he’s never even heard of. We’ve seen Trump getting dragged through the streets of NYC by the authorities and Pope Francis dressed like a roadman in a pristine white puffer jacket. Except we haven’t, because it’s all been artificially generated.

AI is writing our emails, presenting our news, printing photos of people who don’t even exist and creating award-winning art out of thin air. It’s even prompted the morally ambiguous Mr Musk to sign a letter describing it as “posing a profound risk to humanity.” Yikes.

Yep. There’s no denying that AI is something we need to pay attention to. Especially if you work in the creative sector.

Just three months ago I furtively raised my head above the Copywriting parapet LIVE on Radio Nottingham and chuckled confidently that I didn’t think creatives had anything to fear from ChatGPT. Well, as I sit and overhear someone explain how they’ve written “a very good” complete novel via ChatGPT in under 10 minutes – who’s the one laughing now?

Well still me. Because spoiler alert, I read the novel and it is in fact not very good. Like at all. Sorry Mr Robot Conan-Doyle, it’s not your fault. It’s just that authentic creativity and critical thought are uniquely human qualities. They are not machine-made.

This begs the question. When we dig beneath the surface-level applause of streamlined efficiencies, what can AI actually deliver when it comes to quality creative assets? As I’m a copywriter writing this for a creative agency, this blog can only give its perspective on the small slice of AI pie that impacts my day-to-day. So, in this instalment, we’ll look at the beast that is ChatGPT as a use-case scenario. In the meantime, I’ll work on getting some insights from the amazing Pistachio creative team on what capabilities AI has when it comes to graphic design and imagery.

But first things first, here is a made-up quote taken straight from the hypothetical mouth of a fictitious business owner (but based on a number of very real, human business owners):

“ChatGPT helps speed up efficiencies and productivity, allowing us to work quicker and leaner – and still with the same quality of work”

This sentiment is the dish du jour when it comes to praising the attributes of ChatGPT. Businesses and agency owners alike are posting about it in droves on LinkedIn. Stating how much money and time the platform can save when it comes to writing content. Well, ethical issues of laying off hundreds and thousands of talented staff aside, I too was drawn into this assumption. So, I decided to try and utilise ChatGPT to help speed up my working day.

Bolstered by the praise heaped upon it I was optimistic of speedily generating a solid first draft that would need very little tweaking (and only a small dollop of whimsical satire thrown in) and hey presto, we’re good to go. I estimated that this method could save up to 75% of my time. I was wrong.

The reality, no matter how hard I tried, was very different. While the process did help cure blank page syndrome for ideas on slogans, taglines or corporate social media announcements, when it came to anything longer-form or meaningful, I found it an absolute nightmare. While the information appears to be great at first glance, closer inspection reveals bland, monotonous and repetitive results. No matter how imaginative and precise you get at inputting commands. And believe me, I really have tried (thank you TikTok).

Even when asking ChatGPT to analyse a particular writing style (including my own) and then replicate it, it still didn’t deliver the quality required. The words were technically correct, but the flavour wasn’t right. This happened almost every single time and across every genre and topic type. As a result, I spent double the amount of time trying to fix it. And as any creative knows, trying to retrofit someone else’s work, even a robot’s, to your own ideas and standards is an immediate creativity buzzkill.

What’s more, I repeatably found that most data and stats were often inaccurate, too generalised, exceptionally neutral, out of date or completely irrelevant. Meaning that 9 times out of 10, it would have taken me half the time to write the document from scratch, using good old-fashioned imagination, brainpower – and of course Google.

I can only assume that no matter how clever the technology becomes, essentially any content supplied back to you can only reproduce and rehash what has come before and present it slightly differently. This might be great for writing a set of terms and conditions, or another generic sales email about another generic product, but it’s missing a vital ingredient. Original thought. And when it comes to great branding, advertising, and marketing, this type of copy really doesn’t cut the mustard.

Why? Because brands need ideas that only the bizarre and intimately weird experiences of people’s personal lives can bring. So, while an initial scan of an AI-generated post might seem like it ticks all the boxes, I’d encourage you to read it through again and assess whether there isn’t something missing that doesn’t quite hit the spot. If you can feel it, chances are your customers will too – and so will your competitors.

There are of course lots of benefits to using ChatGPT, especially for marketers. We’ve even kindly detailed them here for you. But the key lies in harnessing the power of the human’s who care about your business, that’s where the magic really happens.

If you’d like to chat about your next campaign or product launch and forget all about AI (for now) simply get in touch here we’d love to hear from you!