We’ve seen a surge of LinkedIn posts recently where advertising copywriters feed some of their most successful – and off the wall – campaigns into ChatGPT to show how hard it is to replace creative thinking. The results tend to be pretty damning for large language models. 

But we wanted to know: do our writers feel like they’re training their own replacement? Does AI signal the death of creativity? We asked some of them, and this is what they had to say.

Alex Goldstein Screen

Alex Goldstein, Creative Director, reckons this town is big enough for the both of us.

Look, I agree with one thing: it’s very unlikely that ChatGPT could come up with Dumb Ways To Die right now. Great. Thing is, it’s not really built to do that anyway.

It’s meant to replace me. A business writer. Someone whose job includes wading through formal corporate grandstanding or legalese and turning it into something people want to (or even can) read.

Generative AI’s much better at simplifying, and occasionally reorganising, vast swathes of waffle than coming up with killer campaign hooks – though I wouldn’t write it off for that either. So yes, AI will change my job. But I reckon it’s going to make having good writers and editors more important than ever.

What I do is fix writing that people can’t fix it themselves. Maybe they lack the time, inclination, experience – or all three. AI can help plug those gaps, but not on its own.

For a start, you need humans to fact check the results for those occasional moments of AI hallucination (ie making stuff up) or legal accuracy. Also, bad prompts = bad writing – so you need to learn how to craft a good prompt (which means, really, that you’ve done lots of creative thinking about the brief already). And of course, you need experience to know whether what you’re getting back is okay, good enough, really great – or even extraordinary.

Guess which people are already trained in all that?

Nick Banks Screen

Nick Banks, Senior Writer, thinks you get out of AI what you put in.

I’ll be honest, no one was more terrified than me when ChatGPT 3.5 launched. I’ve been a professional words person* for more than 15 years. I like being a writer. I didn’t want some upstart bot taking my job – or forcing me to become an AI admin assistant, feeding it chunks of data while it got to do all the creative stuff.

Then I braced myself and actually used ChatGPT for the first time and I was… relieved. Yes it was compelling – how does it work? How?? – but I could see it wasn’t about to wipe out the creative industry overnight, taking my job in the process.

And I suspect that’s how a lot of copywriters and creatives are feeling – at least if a lot of these thought-leadership posts that keep popping up along the lines of ‘I asked ChatGPT to write a bunch of straplines for me and the results were AWFUL’ are anything to go by. It seems to me these are just a salve; confirmation that copywriters aren’t about to lose their jobs because no machine could ever be as creative and nuanced and just bloody human as them.

But it’s only confirmation because they say so.

Generative AI is already eye-wateringly good at some tasks, and it’s only getting better. It’s hopeless, maybe even dangerous, to pretend it isn’t going to shake up the creative industry – or any industry – any more than it already has.

So we need to be ahead of that curve. We need to learn how to use AI models in a way that doesn’t destroy our creativity, but properly augments it.

There are lots of ways of achieving this, but a big part is through learning how to prompt. I said in another blog, the two big Ps to remember when using AI models are prompting and perseverance. Without either you’ll end up with results that are, indeed, AWFUL.

But invest time in learning how to use AI tools properly, do some prompt training, read up, work at it, use AI as a kind of collaborator. That’s what many of us at Definition are doing. And we’re seeing results that really are creative.

Perhaps, whisper it quietly, even more creative than we could have managed on our own.

*Not my official title

Nick Padmore Screen

Nick Padmore, Head of Language, thinks you should hedge your bets.

We can’t predict exactly how, or how much, AI is going to affect copywriting.

So to all the writers out there (particularly the sceptical ones), my advice is this: get stuck into it. Get a ChatGPT account, or Claude, or whatever, and use it every day. I guarantee you’ll find it useful for something. You’ll also hone your prompting skills and become AI-fluent.

Then, not far down the line, one of two things will happen.

Either we’ll decide things were better without AI, and you can go back to the old ways, no harm done.

Or ‘Must be AI-fluent’ will find its way onto every copywriter ad out there, and you’ll find yourself at the top of the pile.


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