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27th June 2019

Will Copywriting be Automated?

Will the day really come when copywriting is completely automated? Will copywriters be replaced by AI?

It’s already happening

Yes, certain areas of copywriting are already being written by AI software, like WordSmith, developed by technology company, Automated Insights. This software basically takes raw data and churns it into automated narratives. Large, complex templates are filled with information, and the template dictates what the content will say based on values from data in a CSV file.
This approach to copywriting is extremely effective when it comes to structured, repetitive writing, such as product descriptions and business reports. Keyword-rich product descriptions can be written in a fraction of the time it’d take a human to do the same, so you can see the appeal to a time-poor business concerned with the bottom line.
However, not all copywriting sticks to structure and rational thinking. Can AI and automation be used to write emotionally?

An ad written by Artificial Intelligence

Back in November, Lexus, alongside The&Partnership and Visual Voice, released an ad that they claimed was written by AI. To achieve this, the AI software was “trained” with 15 years’ worth of Cannes Lion award-winning automotive adverts and 10 years of the best ads in the ‘luxury’ sector. Other data sources were used, including the results of an academic study from the University of New South Wales into the nature of human intuition.
The script was written by the software, and the ad was then directed by Oscar-winning human director, Kevin McDonald. Here is the final product:

When you consider that it was inspired by award-winning ads and directed by a master of their craft, I find it a little underwhelming. It has all the ingredients that the AI thinks that an emotional car ad needs, but it still misses the mark. Creative and innovation editor for Adweek, David Griner put it best when he described the ad as “less of a narrative than a series of checked boxes.”
The campaign has been successful, but this isn’t down to the ad itself. It’s more about the use of AI that has pulled in the interest, and rightly so, as it fits with Lexus’ innovative brand image.
Would the campaign have been as successful if the use of AI had been kept hidden? I don’t think so.

Copywriters, we’re safe

I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Although copywriting is becoming more automated, the areas that this is happening in are based on structure, repetition and monotony.
As far as I’m concerned, the robots can have this. Technology frees copywriters to focus on the exciting, emotional side of the job. The big ideas that strike a chord with people. AI is a tool we can use, not be replaced by.
Michael Tripp, general manager for Lexus in Europe, said he is “very optimistic that it (AI) will complement and augment the creative process and not undermine and replace.”
Let’s embrace automated copywriting, not fear it.