Creativity is an algorithmic problem.  In other words, it's an AI problem

The future of advertising is using machine learning to perform creative thinking

Sun Nov 27 2022
Aaron Adler

My first career was as an advertising creative in New York and London. When I wrote TV campaigns, I performed a series of steps to generate ideas: I looked for relevant movie and television tropes. I tried to find edgy connections to pop culture. I searched for repeatable campaign structures.

Now in my second career, I'm a software engineer. In software engineering, they call a series of problem-solving steps an algorithm.

Software engineering helped me realize that the creative process is simply an algorithm used to generate an output (a campaign idea) that's entertaining, or funny, or whatever the brief requires.

Yes, creativity is an algorithmic problem. In other words, it's an AI problem. AI is coming to creative advertising. And the sooner creative agencies shed their creative ego and embrace AI, the better business will be for creatives and agencies and clients. In that order.

When my creative partner Ari and I were in ad school, we'd spend hours looking through old Communication Arts Advertising Annuals and Luhrzer's Archives to marvel at the best creative advertising produced around the world. In other words, we were uploading training data through our eyes to use with the algorithms between our ears. We were trying to learn what good advertising looked like, so we could create it ourselves.

That's what an AI creative (in the form of a software application) will do. It will be trained on a dataset of human-written advertising ideas. It will discern what makes these ideas work, and then generate new ideas.

This realization has come to life as, an AI tool for generating creative advertising ideas. is a large language model trained on advertising ideas sourced from Cannes, The One Show and D&AD. Type in a brief and tap Generate. An idea is generated in 10 seconds. Don't like the idea? Change the brief and tap Generate. A new idea is generated.

The goal of is to help automate the ideation process for creatives. The application allows creatives to experiment quickly with different creative paths. Or just get unstuck. Today, can generate viral video ideas, experiential/live-event ideas, and Instagram user-generated campaign ideas. This list of content types will grow to cover the surface area of all marketing and advertising formats. shifts the creative's workflow from spending time ideating to spending time formulating the brief and creative insight. Creatives move one step upstream to where strategists and planners play. The AI model becomes the idea generator that never objects to a change in strategy, a client pivot, or a last-minute re-brief. To creatives, this is a godsend.

The next time you're looking at a piece of great creative work, ask yourself: What patterns is this following? Is it a reinterpretation of an existing idea? Or is it breaking new ground with a completely novel approach? Chances are, it's the former. And that means AI can do it, too.

Let's stop pretending creativity is some kind of magical art form. It's a series of steps creative people use to generate patterns and apply to client requests. Coming up with ideas is hard. The best creatives in the world have simply developed their own mental algorithms, and are constantly iterating on them to make good ideas better and faster.

The future of advertising is using machine learning to perform creative thinking. Humans will still be the arbiters of creative taste and judgement. But let's have the machines do the heavy lifting. Let's use AI to make us better at what we do.

- Aaron

Spend 3 minutes entering briefs into the generator and see what AI ideas look like.