Sometimes I wonder why we’ve romanticized the role of advertising but vilified the role of sales. They do the same thing. Both tap into people’s feelings, desires, and memories in order to sell. Look no further than the juxtaposition of Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Don Draper (Mad Men). One is portrayed as a slimy salesman while the other is a suave adman. Naturally, as a future-obsessed technologist, I think about how each job will look in the future. And while the salesman’s job will largely remain intact. The advertiser’s job is slowly being picked apart by AI in advertising.
AI in Advertising
Advertising has a lot to do with emotion. Marketers either create an emotion, bring back the memory of an emotion, or create the desire for emotion. That emotion then correlates to the product. So if you can determine the emotional impact any given word has on the general public, then can’t AI piece together a sentence that sells that emotion?
Well, that’s idea behind Persado.
Persado is an AI in Advertising company, using AI to create ad copy for their clients. They’ve gathered a database of more than 1 million words – tagged and scored for emotional appeal. From there they created a natural language generation algorithm which pulls words from this database and creates compelling advertising copy. One example that they’ve circulated for the press is this one about Chase home loans:
Clearly the second is better. (However, I don’t know what marketer at Chase would be able to keep their job with that boring ad copy.)
Nonetheless, Persado boasts a 450% increase in clicks over human advertising counterparts. And they’ve locked down more than 250 brand clients – including Dell, Citi, American Express, Air Canada, Chase, and Microsoft.
So, is this the end of admen?
Yes and no. You see, there’s advertising that sells. And then there’s advertising that creates a brand. The advertising that sells is very transactional. It’s the example you saw above. And if AI can do that for us, then so be it. That’s the boring part of advertising anyway.
The Future of Marketing
As a team, Ryan and I have spent a considerable amount of time writing this type of transactional ad copy. And we’d much rather focus on the fun parts of advertising, which is taking the big shots! The hail marys. The advertising that creates a brand.
If Persado’s AI creates the transactional copy and Zalster’s AI optimizes your ad spend, while Evolv’s AI A/B tests your conversion pages and EyeQuant’s AI analyzes the effectiveness of your landing page design… that leaves us human marketers to doing high-level brand storytelling and creative direction.
Ideally, every marketer can ditch these more tedious parts of marketing and become their best version of Lee Clow.
Lee Clow is one of the creative directors responsible for Apple’s unbelievable brand storytelling over the years. From the famous hammer-throwing 1984 commercial to “Think Different”, that’s Lee Clow at his finest.
If Lee isn’t your favorite flavor of marketer, then insert Scooter Braun, Mary Kay Ash, or the two brains behind the Ice Bucket Challenge.
These are the people we should admire as marketers. Not the people on YouTube who teach us how to buy ads and market some junk you can buy on Alibaba.
When it comes to automation, oftentimes executives will say that AI will help free their employees to do more meaningful things. This is usually more marketing than it is truthful.
But for AI in Advertising, it’s the truth.