Don’t just sit there: AI for advancing industry

We are already seeing AI’s promise and power at work says Mindshare’s Ibrahim Ghazal

Image Credit: Mindshare MENA

Most of us interact with AI every day. From ordering lunch, paying bills online or picking something to watch at the end of a long day, elements of AI, machine learning and other 4th Gen tech is at work around us. If we aren’t seeing as much of that interaction in the advertising industry, that’s on us.

We’ve moved slowly to harness and integrate new tech – which is strange, considering the immense value and possibility AI can deliver for us. Broadly speaking, it seems many in the industry – clients, agencies, brands, practitioners and others – fall into one of three main categories.

At the top of the pyramid are the fewest, those actively engaged in and in hot pursuit of possibilities. At the bottom are the fearful and status-quo’ers, unwilling to risk change and disruption no matter what the benefits. And in the vast middle: The lukewarm, aware of potential nightmares but unwilling to act to chase the one or avoid the other.

At Mindshare, we see ourselves included at the top of the pyramid. We believe AI stands for Advancing (our) Industry – its potential so powerful and yet so accessible that it can open the door to transformations for us individually and for our entire eco-system. That beliefis so resolute that it has led to CoPilot, a GroupM Nexus AI solution that drives real business outcomes for digital marketers.

On average we see 20 per cent improvements across our digital campaigns when we implement CoPilot. We’re already seeing AI’s promise and power at work in creative visual and content generation, in consumer engagement, and in process and performance management.

Here in the UAE, agencies have begun using AI and machine learning to enhance contextual, programmatic and cognitive advertising, and derive scalable, predictive insights.

The benefits are also evident. For consumers, there’s the ability to continually and rapidly elevate engagement and experience. Talabat’s new AI-powered shopping assistant is a case in point, offering recipes and checking ingredient availability in real time and streamlining the grocery shopping experience.

They might be the first ones off the blocks in this space, but they won’t be lonely for long.

For clients and brands, happier customers and competitive advantage are only the beginning. Cost savings, improved servicing times, richer content and more targeted and effective outreach and more are all on offer. Consider Eva, EmiratesNBD’s AI assistant. Love or hate the UX avatar, there’s no doubt it simplifies and speeds up banking transactions.

The low barriers to entry and high rewards is a boon for the region’s SMEs, allowing them to get much more done, and enter more spaces with fewer resources.

“We believe AI stands for Advancing (our) Industry – its potential so powerful and yet so accessible ”

For digital, the power of AI is radical. AI can help create summaries and topline analysis of media plans, allows us to nail measurement with tag measurement solutions, make our activations much more efficient and giving us better data analysis faster. Smart bidding, and being able to convert more potential customers into new customers, becomes a reality and not a hope.

Data analytics is also zooming ahead thanks to these emerging technologies, giving us an unmatched ability to harness big data. When Google’s Universal Analytics sunsets in July, its successor Google Analytics 4 will allow us to see AI’s potential as a power tool more clearly, from predicting optimal strategies based on historical performance data to providing ever-sharper targeting and segmentation recommendations.


We are ultimately the engineers of our own success or our own failure. This is particularly true right now, when we have amazing technological capability at our fingertips and are only restrained by our lack of action.

If we want to rise from the bottom two tiers of the pyramid, we must take AI and its sister technologies more seriously. We need to move beyond merely scratching the surface. We can make a start by trying out the new technologies for ourselves, hiring our own experts and building our own personalized solutions best suited for our needs and for our brands and clients.

The barriers to entering the AI space are almost laughably low. There is simply no excuse to not try using ChatGPT or Google Bard at the very least, and integrating readily available and free prompts to test its possibilities for yourself and your industry. It’s not ‘Can we afford to invest in AI?’ – it’s that we can’t afford not to.

I believe the integration of AI frees up more of the industry to focus on what we do best – imagine, create, think and adapt. Let’s look at this as an opportunity to become better creative and thoughtful partners for our brands. Let’s move in lockstep with the times. Let’s look on it as a blessing and not a curse.

Today’s reality is that we cannot thrive without AI, and neither can AI thrive without us. All of us – client, brand, agency and practitioner alike – have an opportunity to thrive with AI and benefit from it.

By Ibrahim Ghazal, Regional Performance Director, Mindshare MENA