Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence Growtika/Unsplash

Over the past few years, the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has ignited debates in the creative industries. For the first time, machines are now able to create what is commonly referred to as art — music, images, literature, cinema — without being directly controlled by a human. Regardless of one's position on the subject, the unchangeable reality is that AI is here to stay.

In light of that fact, many creatives are now talking about how to best harness AI in their work. Jeff Miner, founder of boutique creative practice Jeff Miner Advertising, places importance on how to function better as a creative person as new tools become more readily available. Miner believes it's of utmost importance for creatives to keep their most powerful tool — the creative muscle — as sharp as possible amid the automation of the creative process and that the key for creatives is to put themselves in a position where they're cultivating taste and aesthetic rather than chasing trends.

"What I find really interesting is that the people who make the most interesting work, most of the time it has less to do with the specific technology they use; it's more about the things they ingest and how those inputs drive their creative decision making," Miner says. "The best creatives get outside their algorithms, so to speak, to ensure they have a range of influences. That's the key to creating solutions that are not as obvious and more interesting. The stimuli that leads to the most effective work is often found outside of what you would call trending content."

Miner points to hip-hop music as an example of this, where iconic songs are created by sampling music belonging to many different and seemingly unrelated genres. Instead of remaining inside their usual selection, top producers are constantly "digging through the crates" to find new music and inspiration. Miner believes advertising creatives would benefit from a similar approach.

However, this doesn't mean that Miner isn't aware of the rules and conventions of the ads business. He says that the best work is almost always grounded in insights but that data should be a foundation rather than a destination. "Creativity is about problem-solving. It's not about following a formula," Miner says. "Innovation lies in understanding what's worked before, and finding ways to make it work better. Marketers are always going to gravitate towards less risky work. It's creative's job to push from the status quo to make bolder, more effective work."

Having worked for 11 years at Google, including five years as a global creative lead, Miner has seen first-hand how technology has changed the creative landscape. He noted how technology has elevated the role of producer and editor and that today's creative directors often have a background in technology. He believes that the people who will thrive going forward are those who understand advertising across the entire campaign process.

"You want people that understand how to use the latest tools to create work, that are well-versed across disciplines, who can provide value no matter what the brief is," Miner says. "At the same time, you still need somebody who has real creative chops. As more of the creative process becomes automated, the ability to infuse true human artistry will be what separates great work from good work."