Much has been made over the past 8 months about the rapid development of generative AI, especially since Chat-GPT stepped onto the track, allowing AI to be more accessible for the masses. Since then, we’ve seen and read of countless examples of the pros and cons of AI: will its expansion lead to job losses? How can you be sure of the authenticity of what you’re reading – or even watching? How best are automotive marketing and PR teams utilising it to improve workflows and productivity? Who is really steering the wheel of the content that is being consumed? How do you know this blog is being written by me and not AI…?
Most of our clients working across PR and marketing functions in the automotive manufacturers have told us how they physically can’t access AI sites from their company laptops. But a recent study reported by Marketing Week suggested that 63 per cent of marketing leaders plan to invest in generative AI in the next 24 months, with just over half (56 per cent) believing it will carry more reward than potential risk. With such a boom on the way with generative AI, it is inevitable that its impact in the world of automotive marketing and PR will be felt.
What that impact will mean has got the DriveTribe team thinking hard about where we feel we currently are with it, and what teams should pay attention to if using generative AI to help with their PR and Marketing goals from a digital content perspective.
The American journalist Sydney J. Harris once said: “The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.” Herein lays an initial problem which teams should be aware of when generating ideas and scripts for video content.
When the recent AI explosion came onto the scene, plenty of marketing and PR professionals in all fields were worried about how it would take their jobs. A few prompts and you could have a new script or advertising slogan done in seconds.
But what we have seen since, especially by some advertising companies who cleverly compared AI generated content against work its own teams created, has proven AI generally generates vanilla ideas.
Humans’ creativity and ability to think outside the box cannot (currently) be replicated by AI.
A script idea can be generated by a machine, but from what we have seen produced by generative AI, it still needs that human touch and original flair behind it to help generate the truly human connection marketing and PR teams seek for their content.
Creativity is a uniquely human characteristic, full of complex nuances that work alongside our own emotions and thoughts, and although it might learn how to in the future, currently AI is unable to capture that on the whole in my experience.
If we circle back to our Harris’ original quote, it could be interpreted that over relying on AI for scripts will mean teams could find their own tools in the artistic process dulling, and they too could start producing vanilla content themselves.
As far as we know, AI isn’t yet capable of picking up a camera and walking on set to shoot original footage.
However, there are generative AI video tools out there which can create new footage based on humans inputting necessary resources such as images, logos, audio into it which it will then use to produce a video or animation. Some can even use pre-loaded human avatars to speak a script. They look like humans and talk like humans but something about them makes them not feel human. The same goes for 3D renders of cars placed within generated realities.
Over the past few months, we have also witnessed a surge in AI websites claiming to take a script and then turn it into a video for you. On a basic level, the AI will succeed with its output, but unless specific footage is uploaded, it will rely heavily on generic, stock B-roll to pull together the script. What you’re left with is a very bland piece of content that, as mentioned before, will lack originality. Even when specific footage is uploaded, there will still need to be a human guiding the editing process to get exact outputs from briefs.
There are plenty of AI tools out there which can help filmmakers during post-production stages, such as face trackers etc but generative AI is still exceptionally primitive in being able to create high-quality footage used for a marketing or PR team.
Cast your minds back to Lexus’ famous AI curated advert back in 2018. The advert was quite successful in that it was able to create a very human connection through its compelling Frankenstein-esq narrative. We could see the pain the designer was going through as his car hurtled towards disaster and we felt sorry for him.
Sounds brilliant from a marketing position, doesn’t it? The ability to keep an audience hooked and emotionally invested certainly is a big win and we cannot dismiss Lexus’ success with this advert.
While the script may have been extremely compelling, the editing after it allowed Lexus to put together and then distribute a compelling advert.
The danger for marketing and PR teams is in thinking that they can throw footage into an AI machine which will then automatically produce highly polished content that follows brand guidelines. In our experience, this isn’t the case.
As mentioned before, human creativity isn’t easy to mimic. As great storytellers, marketing and PR teams understand how pace, lighting, movements, and music can all come together to elevate a scene on an emotional level for a desired goal which truly represents their brand more than any generative machine we’ve seen so far.
Over the past few years, more generative AI tools have become available to editors, each one helping them speed up some of the more mundane tasks. There are now tools out there which editors use that can quickly erase things from videos, turn still images into life-like moving shots (albeit only for a small time) or even remove any background from a clip through a couple of simple clicks. The speed at which editors can take raw footage and turn it into a final product can be streamlined immensely through generative AI.
So, where does this leave in-house marketing and PR teams at automotive brands looking to source high-quality video content?
In our opinion, AI is no exception to any other new invention that has come around. The initial explosion and interest will eventually subside as people slowly get to grips with the new technology and think how best it can be utilised in their field.
While we believe it will not replace the marketing and PR teams, we do think that it will become a useful tool which can be used within workflows to increase productivity and streamline certain processes. All of the mundane tasks that seem to take an age could even free up people to tap into the more creative elements of video marketing and PR.
You just need to make sure that a human is sat comfortably behind the wheel rather than expecting AI to get you to your destination unchecked.
And for the record, and to answer the question at the start, no AI was used in the creation of this blog.