Hareesh Tibrewala
May 03, 2024

Why creativity remains at an all-time premium

The age of Gen AI might be here, but the era of creativity isn't anywhere near over, says Mirum's Hareesh Tibrewala.

Why creativity remains at an all-time premium

There is a general belief that, thanks to generative artificial intelligence, the era of the creative agency is coming to an end.

In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

Imagine a scenario 30 years ago when we didn't have tools like Photoshop. If you gave a brief to four creative directors, the output they would come back with would be fairly similar. However wild one’s imagination, due to limitations of the medium such as creating printing plates from negatives or doing color separation using halftone screens, there were only a limited number of outputs that could be created. Creativity was forced to exist within boundaries.

Then we moved into the era of computers, Macs, and Photoshop. All of a sudden, we had access to a palette of a million colors to play with. It was so easy to create illustrations and designs in the form of layers, and we could make changes in a jiffy. The possibilities just exploded.

The communication mediums themselves also multiplied: Television, digital, smartphone, and OOH. Creativity was unleashed like never before! Pedestrian work could now be done by a DTP operator, but real creativity, which would stand out in a plethora of content, required real thinkers.

Now, move to the era of generative AI. Anything that one can imagine can now be produced by an AI tool in a few seconds. Sure, you need to know how to use a platform or create relevant prompts, but beyond that, there are no limitations. So, we are moving to an era of abundant content. And abundant content also means abundant mediocrity. We are adding newer communication channels: virtual reality, metaverse, holographs—all manifesting at 5G speed.

Plus, consumer attention is going to get shorter and shorter. So, how does a brand manage to get its message across, in a memorable way, to its target consumer, where the window of consumer attention is shorter than the memory of a goldfish? This is going to demand creative thinking of an order of magnitude higher compared to what we have experienced thus far.

I don’t see the world of creative agencies coming to an end anytime soon. No doubt, low-level tasks in an agency will be automated (as happens in every business in every wave of computerisation or mechanisation). But high-level creative thinking will be at a premium.

Hareesh Tibrewala is a co-founder and board member of Mirum, WPP.

Campaign India

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