Why AI copywriting can’t beat the real deal

Nov 15, 2021

It’s irritating being so frequently asked by robots to prove we’re not robots. But we obediently click our palm tree boxes anyway. It’s even more irritating to find out robots are now muscling in on our work territory.  Artificial intelligence (AI) copywriting is on the increase, so in the interests of market research, TPW’s Jess Watson decided to check out the algorithmic competition.

Beware the robot lover – AI’s stab at mastering the language of love

AI copywriters may be cheaper than those of us with beating hearts, but they can’t write a love letter if their battery life depended on it.

I signed up for a seven-day trial of copy.ai, a site that claims to write the following:

  • Product descriptions
  • Digital ad copy
  • Website copy
  • Blogs
  • Email/letters
  • Social media posts
  • Sales copy
  • Love letters

I put the latter to the test.

‘Who is the message for?’ it asked.

‘My boyfriend,’ I wrote.

‘What is the occasion?’

‘To remind him how special he is.’

I hit the ‘create copy’ button and several ‘love letter’ extracts were delivered, including this:

I love you, Brad! I am so lucky to have you in my life. You are everything I could ever wish for in a boyfriend. I don’t think there has ever been anyone more special than you!

Tone-of-voice isn’t AI’s strong suit

The tone-of-voice wasn’t quite that of a middle-aged woman and I don’t know any Brads, so I changed the input data to ‘my husband’ and ‘celebrating 25 years together’.

Copy.ai created:

I have been blessed beyond measure to have been with you for so long my love. We have been through so much together, and all I can say is that I am lucky to have a wife that loves me as much as you do. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I promise to cherish you all of my life!

Other than giving my husband the wrong gender, it wasn’t half bad for a machine. But the next one was plain weird.

I had the most incredible night last night. Even though I am not generally a dreamer, I did have quite an enjoyable dream. I was with you, my new love, in some sort of Elven place. It was like World of Warcraft, but it wasn’t videogame graphics that appeared around us. It was all real…because you were there!

AI’s failed love life: when unconditional devotion is also beyond the bots

Perhaps copy.ai might produce a better result if I targeted the real loves of my life – my three daughters. But no.

I love you Luke, I love you Zoey. I’m so lucky to be your mom. Each day when I wake up and see my two angels in the bed beside me my heart skips a beat. Each of you have a unique personality that amazes me every day of my life. I cannot wait to see what the world has in store for both of you!!!

And:

I love you sooo so so so so so so much!!!! I’m so lucky to have such beautiful ladies in my life! Love yew girls with all my heart and soul as always.

AI copywriting misses the human touch

It was clear this was no algorithmic Cyrano de Bergerac but I could see the appeal of AI for the more mundane copywriting tasks, like 500 product descriptions or something. But even if you were to save time and manpower by outsourcing to a robot writer, how persuasive would that copy be without the human touch? Even the humble product description needs some TLC in order to sell.

Copy.ai produced some great blog ideas, created punchy social media headings and wrote a decent paragraph from a list of bullets. But as I started getting twitchy, I realised a person was still very much required to stitch the piece together, check for accuracy and flow, and produce the final version.

On that note, there’s also a rather more significant drawback for agencies and marketers hoping to save a few bucks on the copywriting budget – what happens when the computer says ‘No’?

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