min read

AI in Ads: Looking to the Future of Creative Advertising

Discover how Toys ‘R’ Us and social media giants are using AI to create ads. What does this mean for the future of advertising and creative industries at large?

AI has been touted for its data-driven insights, especially in the field of marketing and advertising. But beyond AI’s analytical and personalization capabilities is the ability of AI to help create the physical ad itself. 

Toys ‘R’ Us Leads In AI Ads 

Toys ‘R’ Us recently displayed a 66-second ad made entirely from generative AI. The video was created using Sora, OpenAI’s text-to-video software, and it was created in partnership with Native Foreign, an Emmy-nominated creative agency. The ad debuted at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival, and it told the story of founder Charles Lazarus and the vision behind the brand.    

Despite using AI to create most of the ad, the production process was far from simple. “Everything you see was created with text but some shots came together quicker than others; some took more iterations,” Nik Kleverov, chief creative officer at Native Foreign, commented. 

Reactions to the ad were split. For some, the film sparked excitement about the future of creative entertainment. Others were more skeptical about the ad’s optics, which some found disconcerting. Beyond the ad itself, concerns about AI’s use in the entertainment industry more broadly continue to swirl

Social Media’s Generative AI Tools

Toys ‘R’ Us may have been a leader in AI-generated ads, but they are far from the only company beginning to use AI in this way. Social Media platform TikTok recently launched “TikTok Symphony,” an AI tool that helps brands produce videos and edit scripts. It will also include AI-generated avatars that can be employed to help sell products. Avatars will look like real people, and brands will be able to modify them and their backgrounds to fit their specific needs. Such AI-generated ads will be labeled as such and could help make influencer marketing more accessible to more companies. It remains to be seen, however, how consumers will interact with such avatars as compared to human creators. 

Meta has similarly announced that it will be expanding its generative AI advertising tools. When companies upload a product image, the new software will produce multiple iterations of the image, as well as accompanying descriptions. Rollout for such features will be gradual, but Meta hopes to make them available by the end of 2024. 

For social media platforms, this is huge because advertising is a significant source of revenue. In their first fiscal quarter, more than 97% of Meta’s revenue came from advertising. 

Beyond Advertising: AI in Creative Industries

Generative AI is not only a major conversation for advertising but for creative industries at large. Kayo Zhang, associate creative director at Magnet, is involved with when and how AI is employed in the creative process. 

“The question is no longer if we should use AI, but how we should use it. We are figuring that out by rigorously testing a variety of tools and continuously evolving our way of working, aiming to take the best and leave the rest,” Kayo commented. She goes on to say that AI has its strengths, but it must be used effectively in unison with human oversight. “It's the unintentional sparks and human touch in the creative world that make all the difference.” 

Many factors are at play when it comes to effectively creating promotional content with AI. Given AI’s current capabilities, humans are still largely needed to inspire the creative aspects. AI’s competencies are primarily mechanical. Even in the Toys ‘R’ Us ad, extensive human oversight was required when it came to editing prompts and ensuring the overall consistency and integrity of the film’s final rendition. Without proper prompting, the production process is aimless.

At Magnet, “it’s more than following an agenda,” Kayo remarks; “it's about creating narratives that resonate, inspire, and captivate.” 

Stay up to date on our latest posts by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Want a creative partner?
Tell us how we can help with your storytelling  and strategy needs.
Speak at one of our events!
Do you have an inspiring topic you'd like to present or know someone who does?
+1 (646) 486-7109
500 7th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Contact us

Let us know what you want to know!

Thank you for your message.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.