The greatest creative tool or the biggest marketing fraud of all time?

Amaury Treguer
By Amaury Treguer | 2 June 2023
Amaury Treguer.

Marketing is a simple concept. The job of a marketer is to raise awareness of the brand or product they represent and make it appealing—ultimately driving sales. And, of course, the best marketers will do this while keeping costs to a minimum to get the best ROI for the company involved.

Marketing has always been fast-moving. From billboards to radio and TV ads, marketers have always had to adapt to new technology, which invariably came at a high expense.

And then came the rise of the digital age. Web, email, social media, and other forms of digital media democratised access to advertising, making it more affordable and easier for anyone to advertise their products and services.

The Creative Bottleneck

The problem (or opportunity from a marketing agency’s perspective) is that while technically anyone can run a digital marketing campaign, it doesn’t mean it will deliver results.

Successful digital marketing still needs creative thinking and high-quality production to develop ideas that catch the eye and the imagination. And this can be a time-consuming and expensive process. A single social media campaign could keep your in-house team busy for months, taking them away from other tasks. Outsourcing to a specialist agency ensures quality is high, but it can potentially become pricey.

Great campaigns with innovative ideas and memorable images have the potential to (dare, I say it), go ‘viral’ reaching millions and driving revenue. Until recently, most brands seeing this success were those with access to a huge budget and a team of skilled creatives. But the tide is changing.

Creating an Idea Factory

Welcome to the AI revolution. Generative text-based AI tools like ChatGPT have already caused a stir in the world of content marketing. Now, AI image generators like Midjourney are set to blow our minds even more spectacularly.

For example, look at these Nike concept stores coming soon to a street corner near you. Or this immersive art installation in Sydney Harbour, celebrating the launch of a luxury fashion label.

Amazing right? Amazing and fake. Not only do they not exist, but instead of being lovingly crafted by a concept artist or graphic designer over a timeframe of weeks or months, these images were generated in seconds at the click of a button by software that costs just $12 per month.

Midjourney is the next generation of AI image generators that can create incredibly realistic and creative visuals from a simple written prompt.

Already causing controversy in the art world, Midjourney excels at generating original concepts in various artistic styles. But while some are playing with the novelty of generating Friends characters as toddlers, others are taking full advantage of the business and marketing possibilities these AI tools offer.

Pixels of Possibility

We’re at the tip of the iceberg of the potential of generative AI. Still, we’re already seeing businesses pop up offering training sessions to get the most out of Midjourney and similar tools.

Once you start to open your eyes to the possibilities, it’s difficult not to get excited at the potential uses for AI image generation in marketing.

For example, do you really need to spend months planning and tens of thousands of dollars in creating pop-up events and concept stores that only a tiny percentage of your audience will get to experience? Or should you just get AI to generate a photorealistic mock-up of the most amazing immersive event or most fantastical concept store that will get people talking, earn you hundreds of clicks and shares, and promote your brand, all for the price of a few coffees each month?

Maybe you don’t need to invest in that fancy office space. Why bother when your staff can work from home in their pyjamas while the AI-generated office of your dreams gives your clients the best possible impression when they’re browsing your website? Look at our fancy bread agency offices for example.

Soon, brands like Nike may not have to go through months of planning to design their future collections. Instead, they can just feed the AI some ideas and let it come up with the next big shoe design.

Designing products in this way could potentially save millions of dollars and avoid the possibility of a flop. There’s no need to wait and see if your product sells well—just post some prototype ideas to social media and see which one builds the biggest buzz before creating it for real.

AI could even help determine future brand partnerships between brands. Ever wondered what a McDonald’s x Omega brand mashup would look like? Your wait is over.

When Dreams Become Reality

As its name suggests, Midjourney is just halfway through its full potential. AI images have their faults, and most humans can spot them as fake, for now, at least. But at the rate AI technology is improving, it won’t be much longer before AI images are indistinguishable from the real thing.

In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate hype from reality, generative AI like Midjourney could potentially be the greatest creative tool as well as the biggest marketing fraud of all time.

Amaury Treguer is co-founder of Bread Agency

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