BBDO’s Guan Hin Tay and Josy Paul explore Human-AI collaboration at Adfest 2024

PATTAYA, THAILAND — On the second day of ADFEST 2024, BBDO hosted a compelling session titled “Human-AI collaboration: Cultivating emotional intelligence in the digital landscape.” Here, Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO India, and Guan Hin Tay, Creative Chairman of BBDO Singapore, took a deep dive into the intersection of human creativity and artificial intelligence (AI) in the advertising industry.

Guan opened the session by introducing himself and then Josy, who was calling in from India. With the ADFEST stage set, Guan and Josy engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue, addressing key questions about the dynamics of Human-AI collaboration:

What is the starting point of Human and AI collaboration?

Guan contemplated the origin of this collaborative process, questioning whether it originates from a human perspective or an AI-driven approach. In response, Josy offered valuable insights, emphasizing that the foundation of brand-building lies in human observations, insights, and confessions. He stressed the pivotal role of human understanding as the starting point for creative endeavors. However, Josy also recognized the significant contribution of generative AI in augmenting creativity, underlining the importance of integrating AI within the framework of human perspective and intuition


Josy articulated, “Human insight sparks the flame, AI innovation fuels the fire, and together, we illuminate the path to collaborative brilliance.”

Is Human-AI intersection a collaboration or a collision?

Transitioning to the intricate relationship between human intelligence (HI) and AI, Guan contemplated whether this intersection signifies a harmonious collaboration or a clash of ideologies. He described it as both collaboration and collision, noting how AI extends human capabilities while challenging us to rethink our approaches.

What is the role of listening in the Human-AI collaboration process?

The discussion then shifted to the vital role of listening in today’s technologically-driven world. Drawing attention to the omnipresent “listening” capabilities of AI devices like Alexa, Josy raised the question: Are we, as humans, truly attuned to the stories and narratives that surround us? Are we listening?

Expounding on the essential role of storytelling in the creative process, Josy highlighted the significance of active listening as the foundational element of innovation. He shared how, in the initial stages of a project, his approach entails assembling a diverse ensemble of individuals to share their unique narratives and perspectives. These stories, rich with authenticity and truth, serve as the catalyst for creativity and inspiration. Thus, he advocated for a return to the fundamental practice of attentive listening.

“Creativity is sensitivity in a world where no one is listening,” he said.

Can you provide an example where AI facilitated the execution of an idea, leading to positive transformations in a brand?

Josy used two case studies to demonstrate the transformative potential of AI in brand campaigns. The first example recounted AlmapBBDO‘s “Generations” for Volkswagen in São Paulo, Brazil.

Here, AI crafted a heartfelt “reunion” between Elis Regina, one of the greatest Brazilian singers of all time, and her daughter Maria Rita, a celebrated contemporary artist. The reunion meant that Rita, who lost her mother when she was just four years old, was able to sing a moving duet alongside her mother through AI. “Even though this is AI, the campaign came from the power of great human ideas. That’s the thing about AI, it allows us to dream bigger,” Josy said. 

The second case study was from the collaborative effort between Orange and Publicis Groupe Marcel.

Leveraging VFX and AI deepfake technology, the campaign showcased the faces of France’s prominent male football players superimposed onto the bodies of the women’s national team players. The campaign aimed to challenge societal perceptions of women’s football and promote gender equality in the sport. By confronting viewers with the stark reality of gender bias in football, the ad encouraged individuals to reevaluate their preconceived notions, fostering critical reflection and dialogue on gender equality in sports.

Josy commented, “These actual results were achieved through the synergy of Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence. When I see these two campaigns, I’m happy to be in this industry because it pushes me to do new work.”

Is AI the new creative partner, along with the art director and the writer?

Guan underscored the need to preserve human creativity’s central role while acknowledging AI’s augmentative potential. He advocated for maintaining a balance where AI serves as a supplementary creative tool rather than overshadowing human ingenuity.

Josy humorously likened AI to a “third partner on steroids.”

The two leaders from BBDO agreed that with AI functioning as a secondary cognitive resource, creatives are empowered to explore innovative ideas and concepts on an unprecedented scale.

Will AI help us be more creative, or will it lose our human touch and make us lazy?

Concluding the session, Josy conveyed a perspective on the role of AI in creativity, highlighting it as an opportunity rather than a threat. He emphasized that while AI offers immense potential, human intelligence ultimately distinguishes creative endeavors.

Expounding on this, he talked about human intuition and discernment in navigating a landscape where AI provides ready-made solutions. He posited that the true challenge lies in formulating the right questions and prompts, a skill inherently rooted in human understanding and empathy.

Guan echoed this sentiment, advocating for a balanced approach where AI augments rather than replaces human creativity. He cheekily ended the session by reading a quote generated from ChatGPT, “The balance lies in harnessing AI to extend our creative reach while allowing our human instincts and emotions to guide the direction. It’s about using AI as a tool, not as a crutch.”

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of ADFEST 2024.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button