Can agencies really embrace ChatGPT? James Devon takes a look…

ChatGPT from Open AI has been all over the socials recently. It’s a conversational AI that is, well, rather remarkable. I’ve been having a play with it and here are some observations about how it can be helpful in our work. 

1. Thought-starter generation. I remember reading in an Edward de Bono book about idea generation; words to the effect that in order to get from the average idea A to the brilliant idea G, you need to find a way to generate ideas B through F. 
AI can be really helpful to generate thought-starters. It may not be brilliant output straight off the bat, but wonderful for generation without judgement. 
I briefed ChatGPT to come up with 5 alternative phrases for the perennial Christmas classic “Christmas all wrapped up”. It came up with 

  • Christmas complete 
  • Christmas finished 
  • Christmas done and dusted 
  • Christmas taken care of 
  • Christmas sorted 

I rather like the idea of ‘Christmas complete’. I hope it involves lots of port. And Baileys. 

I can see ChatGPT being used in many a proposition generation session from here on in. The same technique can be applied to name generation or even creating initial headlines from a proposition, even iterating alternatives for a testing strategy. 

2. Summarising articles – a classic task. Now, of course I’m not suggesting that we should cheat, but in some circumstances having a quick starting-point of a summary is useful. 
I started with a very functional article about train strikes. Very festive. The original is here: 
I asked ChatGPT to summarise the article… here’s the output, judge for yourselves. 

“Train drivers at 15 rail companies in the UK will go on strike on January 5th over a pay dispute. The strike will occur in addition to strikes already announced by the RMT rail union on January 3rd-4th and 6th-7th. The Aslef union, which represents the train drivers, has reported that they voted overwhelmingly to take this action and stated that they do not want to go on strike but feel they have been forced into this situation by the companies. The strikes come amid a series of industry-wide walkouts in the country, including strikes by nurses, ambulance drivers, and Royal Mail workers, as well as a strike by workers at Network Rail on December 24th-27th”. 

3. Editing to a word count – another classic task. Disaster, the summary provided above is 116 words! And we needed it in under 100 words. ChatGPT please edit your response to be less than 100 words.

“Train drivers at 15 UK rail companies will strike on January 5th due to a pay dispute. The RMT rail union has also announced strikes on January 3rd-4th and 6th-7th. The Aslef union, representing the train drivers, reported that they voted overwhelmingly to take action and do not want to strike but feel forced to by the companies. Other industries in the UK are also experiencing walkouts, including strikes by nurses, ambulance drivers, and Royal Mail workers, as well as a strike by Network Rail workers on December 24th-27th.” 

That was much easier than the editing of my own verbose phraseology. 

4. Changing the tone of voice. We need our paragraph about train strikes to be more inspiring. It’s very functional. Let’s add some rousing tone of voice. How about a sprinkling of Obama? ChatGPT, please rewrite the summary like an Obama speech. (I used the slightly longer summary to give it more to play with). 

“My fellow Americans, I come to you today with some disturbing news from across the pond. Train drivers at 15 rail companies in the United Kingdom will be taking to the picket lines on January 5th in a dispute over pay. This strike will take place in addition to the already announced strikes by the RMT rail union on January 3rd-4th and 6th-7th. The Aslef union has reported that train drivers have voted overwhelmingly to take this action, and their leaders have stated that “we don’t want to go on strike, but the companies have pushed us into this place.” These strikes will no doubt cause inconvenience and disruption for many citizens in the UK, and I urge all parties involved to come to the negotiating table and find a resolution that is fair and just for all. This situation is just one example of the industry-wide walkouts currently taking place in the UK, including strikes by nurses, ambulance drivers, and Royal Mail workers, as well as a strike by workers at Network Rail on December 24th-27th. Let us stand in solidarity with our international brothers and sisters in their efforts to advocate for fair treatment and fair pay. Thank you.” 

Can an AI add a bit of hope? A bit of “yes we can”? Yes, it can. 

5. Creating a summary of a topic. My family loves Hamilton. And we’re going again on New Year’s Eve. If you don’t love it, you are wrong. But given the ambition to ‘complete Christmas’ mentioned in point 1, I’m not sure I’m going to have the energy to summarise the plot for the Grandparents when they ask what we’re up to. ChatGPT give me a synopsis of Hamilton, please. 

Hamilton is a musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The musical, which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, combines elements of hip hop, R&B, and traditional musical theater to tell the story of Hamilton’s life, from his humble beginnings on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his rise to prominence as a key figure in the early history of the United States. 
The musical follows Hamilton as he becomes an aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, fights for the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, and becomes the first Secretary of the Treasury. Along the way, he faces personal and political challenges, including a tumultuous marriage and a public feud with Aaron Burr, which ultimately leads to his untimely death in a duel. 

Hamilton has been praised for its innovative use of music, its diverse cast, and its engaging and historically accurate portrayal of the life of Alexander Hamilton. It has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and has become a cultural phenomenon. 

ChatGPT certainly rose up and didn’t throw away its shot. 

Aside from a bit of short cutting here and there, the most important thing for us in our line of work seems to be the ease of generation and iteration of thoughts and phrases. Whether the AI comes up with the right answer is not the point – it can help provide the stimulus for us to build on or select the most interesting direction. 

Having just written this “5 point” guide, I realised that I should simply have asked ChatGPT what the 5 points should be… So here goes… what are five ways to use ChatGPT for marketing? Unfortunately the answers are 5 generic things that marketers need to do like market research and lead generation… that a conversational AI can’t do, yet. I reckon my job’s safe for a bit longer. 

Go here, sign-up and have a play.