Collage of butterflies

The Rise of AI & the Future of Creative Agencies

Because of the seemingly sudden rise of AI, there are full phalanxes of ad executives, creative directors, brand identity designers, illustrators, RIGHT NOW, furiously racking their brains wondering what to make of it all.

We know this because the people at Digit, us, are doing the same thing.

Every so often—too often, if you ask us—one comes across the typical “The Death of” article. Remember “The Death of the 30-second Commercial”? “The Death of Print”? “The Death of the PC”?

None of those things have died…and yet, here we are writing a “The Death of” article of our own! And what are we saying is dying/not-dying now? Precisely the type of creative agency that we ourselves run.

Well (here’s the customary, weaselly hedge-and-caveat) we are not saying that our business—or yours if you are a creative agency—is going to die. OK, in the veeeeeeery long run it will since nothing in the universe is eternal…entropy is a beach. But in the foreseeable future we think creative agencies are not going anywhere, we’ve just recently become a chrysalis.

AI has made it so.

We are pretty convinced that AI is VERY SOON going to become a great maker of creative artifacts. It already is, with some clear limitations having to do with consistency and predictability. Limitations which, arguably, are presently being ironed-out by cohorts of super-smart nerds the world over. Thus, I’m not sure betting against their odds is a smart move. Or burying our heads in the sand.

While this is happening, creative agencies are uncomfortably ensconced in our respective pupae, metamorphosizing into who knows what. Oh horror! Joseph K. got nothing on us!

Apologies for the ample prolegomenon. This is where the heart of our hypothesis begins. We believe that one likely outcome for our collective metamorphosis will be a new type of creative agency:

  • A small(er) group of smart, knowledgeable, and eclectic people akin to the best creative directors and curators of today.
  • These professionals are uniquely positioned to offer conceptual and “good taste” services to brands, combining their expertise and cultural insights to create compelling content and experiences across all media and channels.
  • This means that the agency of the future will be full service because it will mostly hire “foremen” to oversee any type of creative “construction”: digital experiences, print collateral, TV ads, animated infographics…you name it. When multimodal AI can craft anything in a matter of minutes, why specialize as an agency?
  • The actual execution will, more often than not, be outsourced to AI and its outputs will be refined, adapted, edited, and combined by another small group of extremely talented “artisans,” let’s call them, from within the ranks of each agency—or freelancers acting solo, like often happens now.

We can’t predict the future, we can only prepare for it. Digit is sort of betting on this vision because what any agency cannot afford is to do nothing—to refuse to become a chrysalis. We are all in transition, whether we like it or not.

And this time, AI is a qualitatively different animal and opportunity than the PC, the internet, social media, or the smartphone ever were…as monumental as these technologies are and as deep their societal changes turned out to be.

That’s why we wrote this “The Death of” piece, a genre which we usually despise.

So, our apologies. Now go focus on growing into the beautiful butterfly you will surely become.

As always if you need help with a website, app or need help navigating the changes that AI is bringing, get in touch with us.