Think of Gen AI as a Coach, Rather Than Competition


You could think of generative AI as Mickey Goldmill, Rocky Balboa’s famed boxing trainer.

“Generative AI can be your best creative coach, like Mickey encouraging Rocky,” said Elav Horwitz, executive vice president and global head of applied innovation at McCann Worldgroup. “It can push you to do better.”

Horwitz and her fellow panelist Billy Bohan Chinique, director of global brand and experience strategy at Virgin Voyages, tackled misconceptions about artificial intelligence and creativity during Adweek’s NexTech event on Tuesday. Both agreed that the rise of generative AI would change the creative process, but not in the way people often think. 

First of all, AI is not about to replace human creativity, said Horwitz. She pointed to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report, which said that creative thinking was the second most important skill for workers. 

AI will not become the best creative thinker but can instead give people a starting point from which to develop stronger ideas, she said: “If ChatGPT is giving you an idea, you can say, ‘I can do better than that.’”

The emerging technology will also make creative work more collaborative, Horwitz added. “We can all sit around the table, use generative AI as part of the process, and fix it together. Everything will be more collaborative and efficient.”

Making AI accessible and fun

At cruise company Virgin Voyages, Chinique and his team are intent on making generative AI “a little less intimidating,” he said. 

Earlier this year, the travel brand did this on a meta level by both demonstrating and poking fun at AI in its campaign starring Jennifer Lopez. Virgin Voyages used deepfake technology to generate a robot with Lopez’s likeness and voice, called JenAI, which invites friends and family on cruises. 

Beyond capturing attention, JenAI showed how gen AI can shake up marketing campaigns from ideation to execution. For example, Virgin Voyages is integrating AI into its marketing team’s workflow to capture data and insights from the beginning of the creative process.

“Up until recently, marketing wasn’t a performance-driven task—you left the data to someone else,” said Chinique. “AI gives creatives an opportunity to ask questions about what they’re creating and come up with those insights at the beginning of the creative process, rather than waiting until the end for someone else to do the analysis.” 

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