Should Copywriters Fear AI-Powered Bots?

15 Jan,2020


By Sanjeev Kotnala


We are talking about the ad written by the Adweek Super Bowl bot. Adweek defines it as “an AI-powered creative force that generates ad concepts and posts them on Twitter”. These ad concepts were created using real brands and celebrities.

Playfully, went ahead and converted one of the ad concepts scripts as the voiceover for a real 40-second advertisement and pushed it in social media.



It was an absolute lucid nonsensical copy, juggling non-contextual words that were primed to make some sense absurdly. I must check and stop writing like a bot.

The visuals aid the ad concept. It is not too bad other than for the flower-flower repetition in the script.


Adweek Super Bowl Bot

The bot was trained on over 3,000 SuperBowl ad descriptions and powered by a cutting edge language generation model called GPT-2. GPT-2 is an open-source and its 1.5B parameter model released recently. It is touted as having a slightly better “credibility score” of 6.91 out of 10, but maybe not good enough to start making sense. However, as the machine continues to learn and creates more ad concepts, it will improve.


Not The First Time A Bot Has Written Copy

In 2018, Alibaba said it was using an AI Copywriting Tool that has passed the Turing Test. It has been generating copy for sites like Taobao and Tmall. It is capable of generating 20,000 lines of text per second and is used a million times a day!

Now, the Alibaba e-marketing team sees e-commerce copy needs efficiency. Quite a lot of copy involves a high degree of repetitiveness. It needs variants and is a low-value work. A single product there might require up to 10 versions of copy for different ad formats and targeted audience.

It is natural that for such work, AI-powered tools can reduce the repetitive and tedious copywriting workload for human teams. They can help leverage the massive database of the existing copy and advanced AI technologies. I must clarify, I have no direct experience of working with such tools.

HubSpot Content Strategy Tool uses machine learning to suggest content ideas. It is designed to generate ideas based on current competition and relevance. It automatically conducts research into the topic to evaluate whether the idea is worth spending time on.

Not the real copywriting but definitely writing on your behalf, Wordsmith analyses and transforms data into a personalised narrative including real-time content updates, complete narrative customisation, and an API for flexible publishing.

Acrolinx is a content strategy alignment tool. It is AI-based and designed to read your content and analyse it for factors including tone of voice, style and approved language. Then it suggests corrections to ensure it does not fail the brand standards. Maybe, it is good to have one at the agency or the client’s end.



I know that it is a natural question. The answer is simple. Not so soon. However, copywriting is not merely putting together words together in an impact generating way.

Copywriting is about using words and generating ideas to take the creative leap from the focussed brief, in a way helping the brand or the service to leverage the identified consumer insight. It is to help trigger that emotional lever, ride that comparative advantage and or to press the nerve that will help in creating the desired perception in the mind of the audience.

Though we do have machines capable of accessing all the Internet data and communicate in a very humanly way, they still lack in the emotional interpretation and expression. The algorithms have set commands and expressions. They project an emotion as per the code and not FEEL THE EMOTIONS or DEEP DIVE INTO THE HUMAN CULTURE AND CONTEXT.

Christina Lu, general manager of Alimama marketing in 2019, clarified: “such copywriting tools allows people to devote more energy to richly creative work”. And I hope the rich copywriting that he is referring to is way beyond the AI-powered system as of now.


What Is Ai Powered Bot And Systems Work For?

In the digital era, there is a need for highly personalised content. And the need for it only keeps growing. There is also a need for iterations with it being expressed and re-written in numerous ways. The AI-powered tools are best suited to help manage such digital experiences. It will take on repetitive work where minor variation is required, and where there is a need to operate within constrained defined boundaries. Where timely fast action is of the essence, and there is currently no need or expectation of a creative leap. And that is not the real copywriting.

One thing for sure, it will write the 100th or maybe the 100th hundred line with the same degree of alertness and involvement. Additionally, the tool could link with the big data and data analytics to hep real-time tweaks by deep mining to draw upon what is really working. In many ways, work through the big data – reflect the insights from Data Analytics and give you the highly personalised content.


What Else The Bot Wrote?

The bot has been busy writing ad concepts. And it is one creative force that keeps generating concepts without asking for time. Here are the two that it developed for DINSHAWS ice cream and for DUREX CONDOMS.

Want to read what all it has busy on, maybe follow the SuperBowlBot on twitter.

So, till the time, we don’t move from Artificial to Alternate intelligence. Till the machine does not develop the complete capability to understand the emotions and feel the emotion layered within the social and cultural context, rich copywriting should not fear it. How early or late will it happen, your guess is as good as mine.



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