Industry Views

Monday Memo: A.I. Cannot Do This Commercial

By Holland Cooke

imActor Hugh Grant’s Tweet called it “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.” He was reacting to Apple’s TV commercial depicting a hydraulic press crushing a piano, a record player, paint, books, cameras, and other creative tools Artificial Intelligence emulates, via the new iPad Pro.

With many now fearful that technology will obsolete their jobs, Apple yanked the spot: “We missed the mark with this video and we’re sorry.”

Following my recent column cautioning how ChatGPT-generated ads can be cliché-riddled, several TALKERS readers have sent me even more of the cringe-worthy catch-phrases (“And much more!”) that reduce too many ads to blah-blah-blah.

Various vendors are offering – and, increasingly, stations are using – Artificial Intelligence apps to script, and even voice, commercials. It’s a time-saver alright, but is the output compelling?

In some cases, there’s a fill-in-the-blanks form. Other apps crawl the prospect’s website for copy points. When I’m given demonstrations, I suggest a business I’m familiar with. And I’ve yet to hear a script that captures what makes the business special.


For one such demo,’ I chose a restaurant we frequent often, here on Block Island. The copy generated was painfully generic. So – to make the point – I went old-school, using the method that has consistently produced results for client stations and in my freelance work.

My video describing the process “Radio Advertising, In Their Own Words” includes several examples… and here’s another.

The AI robot cannot possibly feel-the-feel anyone who has dined there knows… and can’t spot this opportunity: The chef himself is a story, as entertained customers discover:

And here’s The Free Prize Inside: People tell advertisers who appear in their spots, “I heard you on the radio!”

More work than simply plugging-into an AI app? You bet. The interview from which I excerpted the sound bites you’ll hear took all of five minutes, and I voiced and assembled the spot in under half an hour.

Everything we do is storytelling.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins” and  “The Local Radio Advantage: Your 4-Week Tune-In Tune-Up,” and “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke and connect on LinkedIn.