How I started a fake agency that got a computer to write its ads.

On April 1st, I was asked to write a fake press release for Campaign Brief. After creating ‘Ai-Gency’, a fictitious agency that had a bunch of racist artificial intelligences that could write ads. I designed an amusing website to give the whole thing credibility (and even a shit ad that their computers had apparently written in China) and let it go to print. I’m still receiving CVs from people who genuinely want to work for them.

Ai-gency employs three artificial intelligence entities, each one capable of understanding a written or verbal brief and outputting work for a male, female or ‘gender fluid’ demographic.

The consultancy has apparently had ‘huge interest’ from Australian clients, including one un-named cable provider who’s already handed Ai-Gency enough projects to fund the Surry Hills-based agency when it launches.

Pfeffer told CB: “Creativity is not an art, it’s a science, and Australian Marketers have understood this for far longer than traditional agencies would care to admit. ‘Dwayne’, ‘Consuela’ and ‘Bradley’ don’t go to football games. They don’t care about awards. They don’t argue back and they create work that’s simple, effective and perfect for a time poor audience.”

The consultancy’s second agency was started in November 2017, and has already created campaigns for some of China’s largest brands. Their ‘Wow!’ campaign for Qingdao went viral on social media giant Sina-Weibo within hours and the agency is ‘quietly confident’ that it will pick up metal at Cannes this year.

Says Pfeiffer: “We like to tell potential clients that we’re the most gender balanced agency in the world. Our three creatives are housed on colour coded servers, supplied by three different manufacturers in the US, China and Europe. Dwayne is blue, Heather is purple and we’ve painted Bradley in a rainbow to celebrate his sexual orientation. I would challenge any ‘traditional’ agency to match our level of gender balance, or indeed, just how long it takes us to create an entire campaign from briefing to dispatch in just hours.”

So how do they do it? In the presentation at SXSW that thrilled clients and alarmed creative heads, the agency’s head of technology Lars Linnaeus explained that by feeding historical advertising into their servers, the algorithms began to understand language, writing styles and, indeed, how to come up with an advertising idea.

But does that mean all they’re doing is plagiarism? Pfeffer disagrees. “All creativity is theft. Every idea has been done many, many times before. We’re just doing what all creatives do. We’re just doing it better, faster and without the need for alcohol or cocaine.”

Admittedly, the SXSW presentation didn’t go entirely as planned. When a Unilever executive asked ‘Dwayne’ to create a campaign for Mexican Avocados on stage, the algorithm immediately created a brand campaign that was unmistakably racist. “It happens,” laughed a clearly rattled Linnaeus as he turned off the server.

Visit AI-Gency at their website:

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