The CAI(s) have it…

The more I think about this, the more CAI seems like a good idea…
(thanks to @k8eeee and @AdBuzzCanada for the link)

At first, CAI seems like a bad idea. It’ll take jobs. It’ll allow company suits to churn out perfectly serviceable advertising at the click of a button. It’ll let advertising slide into another commodity rather than a driver of profit.

THINKING MAN REPLACED BY MACHINE the headlines will scream.

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION 3.0 will be the stand-first.


Art directors will be begging for change with a used Starbucks cup on the street corner. Copywriters will take to drink and litter park benches with sketch-books burnt at the corners in an effort to keep warm.

Sounds good to me. In fact, it could be the way things should go.

CAI is built on rules. Put the logo here. Get this sort of image. Use this font for the copy line and stick it here. The rules of advertising, in other words. The system can’t think for itself (yet).

And if a company exec with no more creativity in his body than a moth can churn out a perfectly serviceable advert for the latest print campaign at the touch of a button, that’s great. The ad will help to maintain levels of visibility but without coffee-supping creatives having a week of meetings about it. It’ll help keep profits coming and reduce the bottom line.

Brilliant. Let’s buy one now. In fact, let’s buy two (just in case the first one breaks). So what if it’s mediocre and rule-following? Most advertising is anyway.

Let’s get rid of the ‘creatives’ who pump out in a day what CAI pumps out in 15 minutes. Let’s can the iceberg-sized proportion of advertising pap which threatens to sink the entire industry in an ocean of cynicism and boring-bloody-work. Let’s let CAI do what it does best – follow the rules, keep company execs happy and ensure that the bought media space has something to go in it – while decreasing the spend required to get there.

Why is this a good thing then? Because CAI is our new call to action. To prevent being ousted by a machine, we’ve got to do things that a machine can’t do, stuck as it is with cold code (as opposed to our warm and squidgy wiring). CAI will give the company exec a real, unbiased, opportunity to test the work of their creative team or agency against the written rules that drive CAI forward, and if the results are found to be too similar, the exec can take a company decision on the most cost-effective way forward…

It’s time for some new rules. Let’s not put the logo there or use that type of image. Let’s think about things differently, let’s do things differently. Let’s respond to the challenge with a challenge of our own. Let’s fry circuits with our genius.

And let’s get our best business-brains out (or at least, through our account exec) to persuade the client suit that our way is best. That we know best. That we can bend the rules. That we’ve got what it takes to reward their investment with an ROI so brilliant that they could buy 50 CAI systems (but of course they wouldn’t want to because we’re so brilliant).

In other words, we need to raise the stakes.

And if we can’t do that, let’s put 50p in the meter and think of something else to do with our time because we’re doomed.

Who’s with me?


3 thoughts on “The CAI(s) have it…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The CAI(s) have it… « Interacter's Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Great read -thanks! This is an carbon copy of what has been happening in the stock library industry for a few years now – images for a few bucks. Photographers that are savy enough to follow (or copy) the tried and tested ‘formula’; ideas, composition, models etc can churn out bland but useable stock. Not sure about the CAI model but I guess design was always going to be the next target of web automation and the economies that brings. If you want to be really worried about this trend check out http://www.tweak.com – a similar idea but soon to be rolling out to a print shop near you! The guy who set this up really does know how to turn an idea into a global business – his last company was sold for 150m.

  3. Agreed. And there is no reason why a talented creative can’t edit through the robot ads, pick out the most appropriate, and make them more effective with better concept, design, and copy.

    Seth Godin’s book “Linchpin” correctly states that success in the future will rely on artistry, insight, and leadership. Because the “busywork” kind of stuff is being replaced by machines and/or cheap labor.

    Finding clients/employers willing to pay for your artistry and leadership is a different matter though!

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