How AI Is Taking Over Kenya’s Advertising Industry

A drive around Nairobi city in December shows billboards by a popular telecommunications company advertising festive season offerings using an image of an old African man, clad in a Santa Claus costume, flashing a wrapped gift box at you while smiling.

The old man has irregular body features, like his teeth, which look like a continuous wide tooth across his mouth, and his hands, which look like different people’s.

Above all, there is his grey beard; it looks airbrushed to the level that it resembles the white fur of the Santa hat he is donning.

On another billboard, there is an image of a middle-aged African man and a young African boy in a living room. Their facial features make them look almost like clay model figurines and everything in their living room has hazy edges.

This is because these images are not actual photographs but are designed using generative artificial intelligence (AI).

That is not all; artificial intelligence is sweeping the advertising industry across different channels. Online advertising on social media platforms has in recent months seen flyers and brochures featuring AI-generated models.

It seems things are not the same as a few years ago when advertising industry professionals were going through the rigorous and costly process of bringing together all the teams needed to create an elaborate voice recording, photo and video shoot for ad campaigns.

From the copywriting stage, there are now AI copywriting tools available and AI text-to-speech software is being used in place of voice-over artists. 

So are image generators in place of models. Generative AI platforms such as Dall-E are giving anyone the ability to render lifelike models with a mere text prompt.

On television, Kenyan advertisements with computer-generated voice-overs and images are also on a boom.

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However impersonal these images may look, the use of generative AI to come up with advertising imagery is on the rise globally.

In the fashion industry, for example, AI fashion models are becoming popular as companies seek to cut down on costs and push for diversity across body types and skin tones while also reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional photoshoots.

Companies also argue that with these fake mannequins, customers can browse their catalogues to see how clothing would look on a body similar to theirs, enhancing their online shopping experience and potentially boosting sales.

The use of AI-generated models has not been without criticism, however.

There has been concern that fashion houses using virtual models instead of hiring – thus actually empowering – real people from diverse backgrounds and body types, if the goal is to promote inclusivity, is harmful.

While companies that have been using virtual models for their campaigns argue that the idea is not to replace but complement traditional advertising techniques, the move undoubtedly is a disruption to professionals like models, voice-over artists, photographers, and graphic designers’ work moving forward.

AIpots

At aipots.com, we are on a mission to bring the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) closer to the hearts and minds of Kenyans. In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, we recognize the importance of demystifying AI and making it accessible to everyone. Our blog is your go-to destination for the latest insights, trends, and breakthroughs in AI, tailored specifically for the Kenyan audience. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a business professional, or simply curious about the future, aipots.com is here to be your guide.

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