How ChatGPT and Midjourney’s Synthetic Media AI Helped Produce This Ad Campaign
ChatGPT and Midjourney’s generative AI engines have brought a hundred years of a fictional family to life in a new ad campaign to launch family history platform Storied. The synthetic text and image tools allowed Two-person advertising idea studio 2Player to replicate the work of a much bigger organization more quickly and for far less money than the traditional method. This AI-assisted production may be a harbinger of how smaller groups might compete in creative enterprises with marketing and advertising giants.
Synthetic Citrus Family
Storied is a new platform for researching and organizing sophisticated family histories at a lower price point. The new service is part of World Archives, best known for its vast newspaper database. Storied is run by several former Ancestry.com executives brought on by Charles Thayne Capital after it acquired World Archives in 2020.
2Player came up with the campaign concept and wrote the song in the ad, but generative AI is the source of the expanded narratives and visual elements. ChatGPT wrote a hundred years of family stories from the initial prompts, while Midjourney’s text-to-image tool supplied the archival images glimpsed in the newspapers and computer screens. 2Player employed those same visuals for the commercial as references for the costume and set designers so that the actor’s outfits would match the pictures accompanying the AI-written archives they are showing off.
“We came up with musical wrote lyrics ourselves, but what we needed was to build the world behind the song,” 2Player creative director and founder Brad Hall explained to Voicebot in an interview. “We used ChatGPT to write the actual stories and weave the stories all together, feeding it prompts for stories of a family lost at sea and a boy left behind on a road trip. Storied has a fake family tree with reams of stories written by AI. Then Midjourney made the census records and newspapers etc., with AI.”
“We could have used our entire budget just on the creative development in a traditional process,” 2Player’s other founder and creative director, Whitney Jenkins, agreed. “We were able to massively streamline the process. It took maybe a quarter or 20% of the budget and saved us a third of the time [compared to traditional development].”
AI Sport Planting Synthetic Family Tree Seed
Hall and Jenkins already had plenty of experience using generative AI for advertising. The duo formerly worked at London-based agency AKQA on using GPT-2 to design a whole new sport called Speedgate for a Nike campaign in 2019. The AI produced the sport’s rules and visuals but required a lot of filtering effort to get to a workable game, Hall and Jenkins said. Advances in technology made for a far different experience four years later.
“The AI gave us an enormous number of terrible ideas and needed a lot of cherry-picking, We saw even then that AI was really good at getting you past the blank page stage, but it was terrible at getting anything close to a finished product,” Hall said. But we saw this year the huge leaps [in the tech] right as this project landed in our laps.
The power and flexibility of ChatGPT and Midjourney made for a much better experience, Hall and Jenkins said. The duo said the AI-produced writing and images required almost none of the finessing needed to finish the Speedgate project. The text and pictures illustrating the Citrus family are nearly identical to what ChatGPT and Midjourney suggested.
“I was constantly sitting there with my jaw on the floor. We’d start with a very general idea and ask for a story about a kid left behind on a family vacation in five paragraphs, and [ChatGPT] would imbue the story with the emotions of the kid and what his family felt. Working with Midjourney, we produced dozens of looks for how the actors are dressed. All we had to say was ‘1950s schoolteacher dressed in yellow, and we had options. We created more than 500 images for reference.”
“We even took the casting and put that into Midjourney [to make examples] for casting directors to use,” Jenkins added.
Both of 2Player’s founders were keen to emphasize that generative AI’s contribution to the campaign, though significant, doesn’t make people working in creative endeavors obsolete. They see it more as a way of leveling the playing field by streamlining the important but often tedious and expensive research and organization that larger companies have the resources to pursue.
“Typically, there’s a whole assembly line process of a client going to a big agency who spends a lot of time making a campaign and then bidding it out. It’s months and months before you get to the production part of the process,” Hall said. “[ChatGPT and Midjourney] gave us a better way to conceptualize the process instead of needing legions of junior creatives doing lots and lots of legwork.”
“There’s still this human element that’s needed, but [generative AI] allows us to function like a big studio,” Jenkins said.