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Artificial Intelligence vs Copywriter, who’s your money on?

Eye-catching, head-turning, interest-tweaking, thought-provoking, connection-making, a bite-size nugget of tell-me-more gold.


Eye-catching, head-turning, interest-tweaking, thought-provoking, connection-making, a bite-size nugget of tell-me-more gold.

Ask any copywriter and they’ll tell you that’s what a makes a good headline.

There’s been a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence replacing the copywriter. We know AI can write copy, including headlines, as quick as a flash. But is it actually any good at it?

Before delving into this, our perception was that choosing AI for headline writing would be a bit like choosing a Lamborghini to take your family on holiday – yes, you’d get there quicker, but then you’d realise something important was missing: like your luggage – or the kids.

Which we’re using in this case as an analogy for relatable content loaded with motivational triggers. And that certain human quality you only get when copy’s written by a fellow human being.

So, to try and get to the truth, there was only one thing to do.

Gather round, place your bets and get ready to see gumshields fly, as we bring you the meatiest heavyweight headline fight of the 21st century.

In the red corner, weighing in at every book, film, creative brief, brand guideline document, grazed knee and life event they’ve ever experienced… it is… the copywriter.

In the blue corner, weighing in at the entire worldwide internet of uploaded cat videos… all the way from ‘the cloud’ – live via satellite… it is… A.I.

Artificial Intelligence vs Copywriter

Brief 1: Write an advertising headline to encourage teenagers to invest their savings with their local building society.


Ump-teen good reasons to start saving with us.


Secure Your Future: Invest Smart, Teen Titans! Your Local Building Society Shows You How!

Verdict: ‘Ump-teen’ is a creative way to call out to the audience, whereas ‘Teen Titans’ is so far away from what anyone would say, it’s unlikely to be received well by the audience. Copywriter wins.

Brief 2: Write a headline to advertise a special January car sales event to drivers.


Move up a gear at our January Sales Event.


Rev Up Your New Year: Unbeatable Deals Await at Our January Car Sales Event!

Verdict: A similar approach, bringing in a car pun and using it to evoke the excitement of buying a new car. The AI response works harder by communicating unbeatable deals but is too long for this particular client’s brand. When we ran the same brief but specified ‘short headline’, AI came back with ‘Start the Year in Gear: January Car Sales Event Now On!’. AI wins.

Brief 3: Write an advertising headline to warn construction companies that, when they switch from red diesel to regular diesel, their on-site fuel bowsers will be more vulnerable to thieves.


Goodbye red diesel, hello red alert.


Protect Your Fuel, Protect Your Site: Transitioning from Red Diesel? Safeguard Your Bowsers Against Theft!

Verdict: AI got a bit carried away and ended up writing an essay. ‘Goodbye red diesel, hello red alert’ is brimming with intrigue and makes you want to read on. Copywriter wins.

What’s the Score?

And there you have it: in this micro sample of three very top-line briefs, it’s clear AI isn’t absolutely awful. It addresses exactly who it’s talking to and makes sure all the key points are covered, but – and it’s a big but – you can see the copywriter is aware the headline doesn’t have to do all the work. They know there will be relevant images to tell part of the story and follow-up copy where further messaging will be put across to the reader.

Here at Begin, we’re divided on the use of AI. Some of us like it. Others are offended by the mere suggestion of using it for anything creative – especially our copywriters! What is beyond dispute, is that AI requires a human eye and competent editor to tweak, refine and polish its output. To remove the AI-ness and make it fit for human consumption.

As it stands, Artificial Intelligence in the creative space is yet to be a threat or replacement for the people currently doing the work. What it is, is a very useful wreaking ball of a tool for breaking through everyone’s personal version of writer’s block.

The best use of AI is to unlock avenues of thought yet to be explored and provide instant inspiration. That can only be a good thing for clients – they get the creative they need quicker, and, therefore, at a reduced cost overall.

What are your thoughts on the use of AI? Let us know in the comments.

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