Creative thinking key element in advertising

Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS) chief executive officer Stanley Clement

PETALING JAYA: The creative thinking process remains the hallmark in advertising despite the emergence of technologies.

Agency leaders concurred that advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), among others, should be viewed as complementing the advertising industry and not impacting creativity in the industry.

AR combines the digital world with real elements and it is a technology that is suitable for mobile devices and desktops.

The main difference between AR and VR is that VR is a computer generated simulation.

It means that reality or an alternative world is generated graphically.

Elaborating on how technologies have initially affected the ad industry, Mediabrands Content Studio chief executive officer Stanley Clement told StarBiz the emergence of AI and other new technology advancements have impacted the creative industry.

Initially, he said the industry did take a slight dip in terms of demand, as the rise of AI suddenly gave room to anyone and everyone to be able to “do it yourself”.

With everyone having this mindset, he said it kicked off the race for “who can churn out visuals the fastest”, with organisations looking to tap into internal resources and free AI tools to fulfil their needs.

Clement said, thankfully realisation kicked in, with people understanding that these are mere tools, and have no edge without the creative thinking process, adding that this has now placed emphasis and importance back onto creative thinking and intent.

“Having said that, the impact of the technologies have been positive for creative industries, as they have enabled us to create better and far more interesting experiences for the brand and the consumer.

“For instance, with our client Ford, we used the power of VR to demonstrate first-hand all the safety features of the Ford vehicles through a crash test drive, which pushes the limits of a regular car test drive experience.

“With the rise of influencer marketing and enhanced tech capabilities available to us, we also found an opportunity to use AR to create our very own virtual influencer for Puma brand to transcend cultures across South-East Asia and have a personality that keeps learning in real-time.

“Something like this might have only been dreamed about by creatives yet is now possible.

“All this goes to show us that the possibilities for AI and creativity are elastic and endless, and we have opportunities that allow us to explore as far as our imagination can go,” he noted.

From an operational perspective, Clement said internally, the agency has been looking at ways in which it can utilise AI, tech and tools for better efficiencies.For instance, he said the agency has been able to reduce time spent on areas of craft, especially when creating proposals that require visualisation through the line.

Whether it is used across storyboards, to out-of-home, social content, activation content or lower funnel content that used to be laborious tasks, he said the agency has now get to spend time on the creative process, which has improved the quality of work as it frees up space for thinking and ideating.

Entropia founder and senior partner Prashant KumarEntropia founder and senior partner Prashant Kumar

Drawing instances, Entropia founder and senior partner Prashant Kumar said generative AI can assist a lay designer in focusing more on conception, rather than on the logistics of artwork, where they end up spending years.

Generative AI is artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media, using generative models

He said generative AI can also augment creativity by allowing speedy experimentations, concept designs, prototypes etc.

It can also help create new breakthrough innovations by throwing up ideas and designs that go beyond human hypotheses, Prashant said.

“Similarly, extended reality technologies allow multiple layers of realities to be layered on in designing experiences.

“People live their situated lives in 3D yet the mediated life is lived in 2D, whether it’s a shopping website or that of a luxury hotel.

“So I see opportunities. But one needs to expand the vocabulary of creativity.

“Brands still need to be built, the marketplace clutter has only increased, and people’s attention spans have only gone down.

“I see technology as enhancing creativity but the form factor is evolving, the narrative is evolving just as people’s lifestyle and myriad ways they experience brands is evolving,” he added.

Serm Teck Choon, who is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Antsomi and former Malaysian Digital Association president, said humans are still the centre of creativity, and are responsible for driving the creative direction of advertising campaigns.

“New technologies are there to enhance creativity and do things that we couldn’t do if compared to those days when all these technologies hadn’t emerged.

“For example, with AR in place now, we can combine the reality world and digital content, offering an interactive experience to end users or customers.

“That can unleash lots of new ideas among the creative community, helping brands build their presence in the augmented reality world,” he said.

Serm Teck Choon, co-founder and CEO of AntsomiSerm Teck Choon, co-founder and CEO of Antsomi

Commenting on some of the trends in the areas of creativity over the next few years, Serm said among these include generative AI, which would drive the creative production to a new level in terms of scale and quality, when it comes to text, image, video and audio etc.

Apart from that, he said AR is expected to garner lots of attention especially, when multinational technology company Apple Inc would make Apple Vision Pro available in 2024.

“While AR will take some time to get popular in view of pricing and technology adoption, we should expose ourselves to it for the readiness of this new technology,” Serm added.

Antsomi, is a regional marketing technology company with clients in several countries in South-East Asia.

Prashant, meanwhile, said the ad industry is going to be “remade” in the next three to five years.

He said brands are going to brief more and more for a Generative AI ready brand library rather than ads.

He said creative people aided by this technology would be spending a lot more time being creative rather than on execution.

“About 90% of content on the Internet by 2025 is expected to be synthetic. This is bound to impact ad content too.

“Much of the generative AI tech world is trying to simulate human experience as closely as possible, and that’s a delightful blue ocean for the creative people to delve into.

“Amidst all the synthetic and the plastic, the authentic, the artisanal, the “humans only” will have a premium.

“This requires creative people to ponder what they really do, and what part of that is original like only humans can do,” Prashant said.

In terms of trends in creativity in the ad space over the next three to five years, Clement said AI would continue to dominate this space and be used to do a wide variety of tasks like collect customer data, tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences, and create ad content.

“However, the focus should not remain on efficiencies and the lower funnel, as brand imagery and relevance are being impacted.

“I believe that we will soon see brand centred initiatives making a comeback, and hopefully open more opportunities for creativity and storytelling to take its rightful place at the centre of brand building,” he said.

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