AI’s evolution within the OOH Industry
Throughout 2023, “AI” became the buzzword of all buzzwords; many things have been touted as “powered by AI” or “AI enhanced”, but the specifics of what that truly means are still somewhat murky on a large scale. In many ways, the possibilities presented by AI are both enthralling and impossible to comprehend.
Don’t get me wrong – the things that have become possible through the use of AI just this past year alone have been incredible. Text tools like Chat-GPT and generative image tools like Midjourney can be extremely useful, but it is important to remember that they are exactly that: tools. They are not thinking engines, but rather predictive engines that can recreate what they’ve learned. Their output is only as good as the input.
What does this mean within our industry?
The use of tools like Chat-GPT can certainly aid in the creative process, providing a great starting point for campaigns or giving helpful inspiration on how to further an idea. Due to the vast amounts of input data that AI programs have at their disposal, certain parts of the creative process that may been daunting in the past can now be lightning-fast. There is enormous potential for increases in productivity, which will ultimately allow us to shift our focus to other aspects of work.
As an example of AI’s use in the OOH creative process: back in June, a series of competitive fast-food OOH ads in Brazil made heavy use of Chat-GPT responses directly.
In these campaigns, the AI responses are not only used as the copy themselves, but are cleverly stylized to represent the very burgers the restaurants are advertising. There are also plenty of ways generative image AI can be useful in the process as well, perhaps lending inspiration visually before final designs are drafted. What may have taken hours of brainstorming can potentially be reduces to minutes, allowing for valuable time to be used in other aspects of the creative process.
The last handful of years have seen incredible growth in OOH data across the industry. There is a great potential here for AI-enhanced systems built on that very data, specific to OOH and how it is planned, bought, and sold.
It is, however, important to remember that AI-enhanced technologies are not inherently replacements for human creativity or logic. We can benefit greatly from tools powered by AI, but ultimately, the decision making needs to remain with us. It is not unheard of for AI tools like Chat-GPT to produce incorrect information, passed as factual – something that is referred to as “hallucinations” in the space.
That said, as with any nascent technology, AI is still best approached with caution. Due to its inherent newness in the larger landscape, there are relatively few policies and safeguards for people using AI technologies. The adage “Trust, but verify” is especially true for AI as well.
Sci-Fi bringer of doom? Most likely not. But certainly a powerful tool that will undoubtedly shake up the way people work in every industry, including the OOH industry.
Next week: The Continued Rise of Retail Media