A Few Lessons from Running NZ's First AI Ad Agency

Launching adagency.co.nz, New Zealand’s first AI-powered ad agency (back in January 2023), was a strange move on my part. Especially given that I don’t actually work in advertising. However, this unique journey has provided me with some intriguing insights:

1. AI is Unbelievably Capable; It’s Our Prompts That Suck – AI doesn’t fail us; we fail it. A well-structured prompt can transform the mundane into the magnificent. Think of it like a recipe: better ingredients yield a tastier dish.

2. AI is as Stubborn as a Goat – Just when you think you’ve got its direction figured out, it takes an unexpected turn. But don’t give up; every challenge has a workaround. A pro tip? Frame your prompts positively. Avoid negatives like ‘no’ or ‘don’t’; the AI responds more fluidly to affirmative language.

3. The Battle for Creativity with AI – Steering AI towards creative thinking, especially in advertising, is a challenge. Using the word ‘AD’ often triggers a very formulaic/template response. It might not always be intuitive, but with persistence and clever prompts, breaking the mold is achievable.

4. Test, Test, Test – Turn it into a team sport, even a competition. Invite the entire company to compete in writing prompts. With AI, there often isn’t a clear rhyme or reason; sometimes, success comes down to a bit of luck and a lot of persistence.

5. Take the Free Money on the Table – Don’t wait for the dinosaurs, the legacy ad agencies, to give the green light. Be bold, jump in, and embrace the unknown. Be the pioneer, coin new terms, and lead the way. After all, fortune favors the brave.

AI is not just the future of advertising; it’s the present. The intersection of AI and human creativity will define the next era of advertising. How we navigate this merger will shape our industry’s trajectory.

Media Release 15 August 2023.