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How we’re making AI a part of life at 11 London

I hadn’t realised quite how often Ernest Hemingway’s phrase ‘gradually, then suddenly’ is used when describing tech phenomenona, like dotcoms and bitcoin. But it certainly seems an appropriate description of how the world of advertising has had to get to grips with AI. For some years it’s been The Scary Thing That Will Eat Our Lunch, but in the back half of 2023 we took the decision to start integrating it into our everyday lives at 11 London.  


Quite how much longer it’ll be a decision rather than a requirement is moot, but the release last year of ChatGPT4 – together with books like Mustafa Suleyman’s The Coming Wave –  gave us the tools and context to give it a whirl. And you know it’s gaining traction when you start playing with DALL-E at home, and your 10 year old daughter sees how freebie apps like Gencraft can revolutionise her artwork projects (and help bring her desire to be part human, part rabbit, to life).  


What started in the strategic planning side of our business (specifically, using ChatGPT to find social media hashtags that GPs in multiple markets would likely follow and that we could target) soon bled into the creative department. We’re now up for a gong at the PM Awards with a disease awareness campaign we did for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis where we used MidJourney to create lungs that looked like hifi speakers. And, as I type this, we’re making glass kidneys for a project on a tight budget with a quick turnaround. is now helping us take meeting minutes, and Storyteq is helping us create banners.  


What’s more, our clients are using it too – but they’re not telling all their colleagues, as they can see that it gives them a competitive edge. One client told me that he’s had to slow down the speed with which he completes his strategic recommendations for fear of letting the cat out of the bag. Another confessed that he’d used it to write a best man’s speech.  


In the short term, AI can be a real fillip to our industry and you’d be crazy not to embrace it. You can save time in all sorts of ways and create images that were previously the stuff of fevered dreams. But you will need to upskill on how to use prompts, you’ll need to understand the copyright and IP implications, and you’ll need to fact check whatever it comes up with, as it’s some way off being infallible. So while you can indeed save some time, right now you may need to use that time up in other ways.  


In the medium term, as we collectively master the proliferation of tools, I suspect there’ll be changes in how we charge our clients. There will be demands to do more with less. If we can use AI to our mutual advantage, to help with both the grunt and the blue sky stuff and gain more time for building client relationships, then that would be the dream. And we’re not planning on changing the shape of our agency just yet – just how each of us works.   


In the long term, which might be measurable in mere months, we’re expecting deeper change. We just don’t yet know what form it will take. But as David Abbott once said: ‘shit that arrives at the speed of light is still shit’. So, as long as our clients still value appropriate ideas, delivered by people they like working with, our industry does have the hope of a future.  


For more information about how AI can help you take your health communications to the next level, please get in touch with 


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