AI art has come a long way in a very short time. But despite fears that AI-generated images could replace human artists, some of the best commercial uses we've seen have been mocking the technology precisely to highlight the importance of the human touch.
We've seen this approach from KitKat, which aimed to show the disaster that would unfold if it gave its creative team a break and replaced its work with AI-generated images and scripts. Now a creative agency has applied the idea to a hotel chain in what is the first advert we've seen to use AI-generated video (see our guides to the best AI art generators and the best AI art tutorials if you still need to get up to speed on the tech).
Whereas the KitKat AI adverts used still images, the advert for citizenM hotels is the first we've seen that uses text-to-video technology. It was created by the agency KesselsKramer London and 'AI photographer' A.I.S.A.M. (AKA Sam Finn) using the newly released software Runway Gen-2.
Nightmarish AI-generated video is used to highlight the terror of outdated, carbon-copy hotels. There are cloned concierges, nightmare guests, nausea-inducing buffets and, of course, a shower scene that's more disturbing than the one in Psycho. The idea is to contrast this horror with citizenM, which describes itself as a simple and human-centric luxury hotel brand.
"We want to encourage people to look past the dreary realm of AI-generated mediocrity and step into the vibrant embrace of a citizenM hotel, where genuine human connection awaits, courtesy of our warm and welcoming ambassadors," says chief brand officer Robin Chadha.
It's another example of AI art being used in a way that intentionally leverages its ugliness, even exaggerating the nightmarish glitchy quality of crude AI-generated visuals (and on a much more exaggerated scale than in the controversial Marvel Secret Invasion opening credits). On social, some fans of AI art are hailing the piece as a milestone advance in the commercial use of AI video, which is curious since the ad seems to be mocking how horrible AI video looks.
“In creating the film, as holes appeared in what was possible with the software at this nascent stage, the fallibility of the software played to our advantage,” says Charlie Bowden, senior creative at KesselsKramer.
Creative Director Dave Bell added: “AI is treated as a science, but there’s more art to it than people realise, or at least talk about. This project has really excited us to see how we can break the software and create something new.”