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Our analysts on how marketers should think about content risks with generative AI

An over-reliance on generative AI can lead to commoditization, our analyst Yoram Wurmser said during our “Attention!” summit on June 2.

Our analysts agreed that fear of bland machine output is warranted. Here are their insights into the risks that generative AI poses to brand originality.

AI should be a starting point

  • Generative AI content should be seen as “a very preliminary rough first draft,” said our analyst Sky Canaves.
  • Time-saving AI tools would be better put to simpler tasks, such as initial brainstorming, developing mockups, and repurposing content.

Creative teams are essential

  • To stand out, content should align closely with brand voice and could evoke emotion, relate to timely ideas, or spark new perspectives—all elements best produced by human creatives.
  • More than 90% of marketers said a “moderate to significant amount of time” was required to review and edit AI-generated content, according to a 2022 Aira survey, suggesting that no matter what AI can do, human quality control is necessary.

The path to click-baity conformity isn’t new

“There’s a race to be first and to get a lot of credit for doing it, and we’re seeing that with AI,” our analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. That can turn into what our analyst Jeremy Goldman called a “copycat” effect that leads to low-value content. “We’ve seen that with click-baity content, so in some ways, this is just a progression of what we’ve already been seeing over the last 10 to 15 years,” said Goldman.

What’s at stake with AI-generated content?

  • Brands risk being homogeneous with their competitors.
  • Marketers risk devaluing their ability to tell unique, thought-provoking stories.
  • Social media platforms risk seeing drops in users or time spent if they’re unable to ensure the spread of authentic, accurate content.

AI does offer tools to experiment and play

Whether the brands are involved or not, “we’ve already seen some great viral memes come out of generative AI,” said Canaves.

Recent AI-generated Balenciaga-themed content—including a video that transformed popular film characters into high-fashion models and a photo of Pope Francis wearing a puffer coat—garnered several millions of views in only a few days. Although Balenciaga played no part in their production, it’s a prime example of how AI can be used to draw mass attention to brands.

Watch the full session.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

First Published on Jun 7, 2023