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June 20, 2024 | by 

PHD CEO Guy Marks was on the stage at Cannes discussing AI when he suddenly asked the audience, “Remember the year of mobile?” Five to eight years later mobile evolved into the key marketing driver that it is today.

Marks’ point was that the industry should embrace the era of Gen AI far faster than it did mobile.

At the same session Wesley ter Haar, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Content Media.Monks made a similar point, noting that many other industries are innovating more quickly in the AI space than the ad-marketing sector. “We need to get in the game faster,” he said.

AI, he added, will help “fulfill the original promise of digital,” of personalized marketing at scale. “It just hasn’t happened.”

Marks noted recent agency research conducted with 700 global marketers which found about 42% of whom said they had “advanced” knowledge of AI. But when tested only 14% scored as high as 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. That must change, he noted, because human input will always be critical to optimizing the use of AI tools as they become more advanced.

PHD sees three phases the industry will pass through on its AI adaption journey over the next 6 years including “experimentation,” the current stage, followed by “acceleration” and finally “elevation.”

There is still a lot of hype surrounding the ramifications of AI, said Marks.

L’Oreal is a believer that AI has great potential to dramatically enhance the company’s marketing efforts, said Asmita Dubey, the company’s Chief Digital Marketing Officer and member of the executive committee.

She told the same audience that the global beauty marketer has assembled a Gen AI task force to define the technology’s potential and assess its impact. The task force is developing best practices for upskilling its work force and putting guardrails in place, like making sure the technology is not used to alter the physical features of models and others used in its marketing messages.

The company has also formed an AI “Beauty Lab” designed as a place to experiment with content creation and production techniques, customer care, media applications and other areas.

The company is also developing an application called the “Beauty Genius,” which Dubey described as a “personal AI beauty assistant,” that “will help consumers make better choices.” It will soon be deployed in the U.S., she said.

Like the others speaking at the session, Dubey said the company believes that AI is a valuable tool that will drive content innovation, efficiency and effectiveness. It will also help assess value creation and ROI and put a spotlight on challenges.