CANNES -- At a time when many are thinking about the impact AI will have on the ad industry's workflow -- as well as its workforce --one industry problem it already is solving for is agencies' creatives staring at a blank screen, Goodby Silverstein & Partners Chief Creative Officer Margaret Johnson said during a conversation with OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap here.
"It's just great at getting creatives unstuck," she said, citing: "Like the blank page problem. The most terrifying part is just getting started on a project. And once you have a big idea, enhancing that idea with AI is just incredible."
Johnson cited an example of Goodby's creative team utilizing a prompt in OpenAI's ChatGPT to come up with new ideas for its "Hands-Free" campaign for Cheetos, which plays off the concept that people who eat the snack food get "Cheetos dust" on their fingers, requiring them to do things without their hands.
Johnson said her team prompted ChatGPT with the query: "What are funny things you could do with your elbows if you didn’t have use of your hands?"
"One of the first things that came back was, 'eat spaghetti,' which I thought was really funny, visually. That’s a hilarious thing.”
She said ChatGPT also returned a "laundry list of things that were not very good," but that the spaghetti idea was a good example of AI becoming a creative's "thought partner."
In another example used by agency founder Jeff Goodby to introduce Johnson's and Lightcap's conversation, he recalled how the agency prompted ChatGPT to come up with headlines for a presentation it was making to a soft-drink brand.
"[It] produced a headline that no human would ever write, which was, 'It’s what they drink on the sun'," Goodby recalled, adding: “You’d never write that headline. And I thought, ‘This shit’s going to be good.”
Goodby went on to note that while ChatGPT returned numerous headlines to the prompt, it took a creative mind like his to "read the headlines and to pick hat headline out, which tells you something about where things are going.
Where that is going was very much the theme of Johnson's conversation with OpenAI's Lightcap, which focused on the idea that generative AI tools like ChatGPT can come up with ideas that help people solve problems, but that people still have to ask what problems need to be solved.
"At the end of the day, are we all just going to be competing for who can write the best prompts?" she asked, adding: "If we’re all using these same creativity-enhancing tools, then what keeps the work from being homogenized? Where’s originality in all of this?"
Lightcap answered by describing the process as AI opening up possibilities and ideas that people may not have thought of. He described it as an "idea maze that is much wider" than what people can come up with manually.
"I think that what we’ll see is the number of possibilities we can explore just widen up that much so that you get this kind of massive diversification of the things that we can see," he predicted.
"It's possible that they can help us find cures for cancer," he said, adding: "I think it's possible they can help us solve climate change."
Or they can also help us write better advertising copy.