ChatGPT. Friend or foe to brand expression?

Branding, Agency

Read Time: 3 Min

Much has been discussed when it comes to AI, specifically ChatGPT in the world of advertising, marketing, and branding. The battle lines have been drawn. Agencies and thought leaders have weighed in and the result seems to be either a full throated cheer or a belief that AI is going to bring about the end of humanity. Or, at the very least, it’s coming for all creative department jobs.

Mothers all over the world are asking their children if maybe their career choice as a copywriter was a misstep and perhaps they’d feel more secure as a programmer — writing code rather than ads.

As recently as July 13th of this year the New York Post published an article with the headline, “Stephen Hawking warned that AI could mean the end of the human race…”. It’s a popular refrain, “AI will bring about the end of the world”, but, for some reason it translates to many companies in search of brand expression as a “why pay for copywriting?”

It’s a fair question in a world where agility and budgets seem to be the most important thing, but the way we see it, if you think creative copywriters can be replaced by ChatGPT, then you don’t know what copywriters actually do.

Christ Prat from Parks and Rec Meme

The job of a good copywriter (and we have plenty of them) is not to fill a screen quickly with words. The job of a good copywriter is to identify emotional truths and express them in a unique way that creates an authentically human brand voice. This voice, when properly executed, sends up a signal flare to your identified audience and alerts them that your business is their tribe. The only way this is achieved is mining for human and emotional gems which trigger the feeling of belonging. We call this the discovery process.

We’ve had many conversations over coffee (and sometimes bourbon…ok, mostly bourbon) at AOR regarding this very thing and recently one of our ACDs nailed it. He said, “brand expression isn’t augmentation or aggregation, but finding original ways to share human stories.” Bingo!

picketer meme holding a sign

In January 2023, after being sent a song written by ChatGPT in the style of Nick Cave, the songwriter himself responded saying the act of writing a song is “a blood and guts business […] that requires something of me to initiate the new and fresh idea. It requires my humanness.” He went on to say, “With all the love and respect in the world, this song is… a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human…”

Branding is a truly human endeavor. It calls to people’s hearts, not their heads.

Does this mean we’re anti-technology? Absolutely not. We see ChatGPT as an effective tool that can help us be more efficient in our use of time. Additionally, we offer many things outside of branding and ChatGPT is a real game changer.

As an AI language model, ChatGPT helps us in a few ways such as: SEO keywords, meta tags and analysis of our client’s competitors’ websites and SEO strategies. What we refer to internally as level one tasks — you know, like a valuable intern. The tasks that don’t really require a creative mind. It generates data that we use to make our creative work show up in the right place at the right time — but it doesn’t create, it aggregates.

Image with text that reads "Stop Talking About AI Until It Creates Work You Wish You Could Do."

As an agency we’re playfully and actively exploring what AI can do to help us be more efficient. This approach allows our writers time to explore real human truths while it whirls away in the background. Are we scared of ChatGPT? Absolutely not. Do we see it as a helpful resource, a rainman-esque co-worker that we’re happy to see in the office? Absolutely.

Take a look at our latest one hundred percent human brand expression here.

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