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24 Jun 2024 16:25

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AI-generated advertising: How do consumers around the world feel?

Personal care brand Dove has pledged never to use artificial intelligence (AI) to create or distort women’s images, in a recent video ad titled “The Code”, as part of its long-running Real Beauty campaign.

The film comes soon after OpenAI’s Sam Altman suggested that AI could ably take over 95% of what advertising and creative professionals produce today, and as other big tech firms like Meta and Google roll out new AI-powered image and text generation tools for ad creation.

But how comfortable are consumers with brands using artificial intelligence to generate product images, advertising copy and even brand ambassadors in their advertisements – in place of photographers, copywriters and real-life celebrities?

Now, an international study by YouGov sheds light on what consumers across markets think about the use of generative AI in brand and product advertising.

Are consumers comfortable with brands using AI for various advertising activities?

Latest YouGov Surveys research across 17 markets globally has found that consumers are more likely to be uneasy than comfortable with brands using AI to create brand ambassadors (in place of real-life celebrity figures), and utilizing it to generate or edit images used in advertising (in place of product photography subsequently edited by graphic designers).

Around half of international consumers say they are “not very comfortable” or “not comfortable at all” with such AI use (47-51%). In contrast, only around a third are “fairly comfortable” or “very comfortable” with an AI-created brand ambassador (34%), and two in five with AI-generated or edited product images in advertising (both 39%).

Consumers, however, are split over the use of AI to produce advertising descriptions and taglines (in place of copywriters) and to decide media placements of ads (in place of advertising professionals), with those expressing discomfort and those finding such AI applications acceptable both making up around two in five (41-43%) of all consumers polled.

To what extent are consumers across markets uncomfortable with AI-generated advertising?

Among markets polled, consumers in France, Sweden, Britain, Spain, Canada and Italy are most likely to be uncomfortable with the use of AI in advertising, with more than half expressing discomfort with the use of AI in three or more potential use cases.

In particular, 60% or more of consumers in these markets are uncomfortable with brands using AI to create virtual ambassadors (France, Sweden, Britain), edit product images (France, Britain, Italy) and generate images in place of product photography (Britain).

Meanwhile, discomfort with AI use ranging from 50-58% of consumers was found for AI-created virtual brand ambassadors in Spain, Canada, Denmark, Poland, Mexico, Australia, USA and Italy, AI-generated images in France, Spain, Canada and Italy, AI-edited product images in Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Australia and USA, AI-copywritten ads /product descriptions in France, Britain, Canada and Spain, as well as AI-powered ad media placements in France, Spain and Canada.

In contrast, fewer than half of consumers in Germany, Hong Kong, UAE, Indonesia, India and Singapore express discomfort with brands leveraging AI across all five use cases polled.

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