I asked ChatGPT to write an ad for a pizza restaurant and here’s what I learned

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard the buzz about the AI-driven app, ChatGPT. But for those rock dwellers, here is a quick primer. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that answers questions and delivers on demands with incredibly accurate and believable text. It’s gained a mix of fame and notoriety because of its plagiaristic opportunities as well as its ability to streamline content creation and writing. That’s a mouthful, so here’s the TLDR version: It’s an app that answers questions using the vastness of content and information on the internet to create custom responses.

Outside of the well-reported negatives of AI-driven chatbots, I wanted to give the system a test to see just how good the responses could be. After a few different queries and notably awesome responses, I prompted it to essentially take my job away. I asked it to write an advertisement for a pizza restaurant.

Here is what I prompted the system to do: “Write an advertisement for a cutting-edge pizza restaurant brand that breaks tradition with bold flavors.” And after about 15-20 seconds, this is what it produced:

Welcome to Slice, the pizza restaurant that breaks tradition with bold and cutting-edge flavors. We’re not your typical pizza joint – we’re here to push the boundaries and shake up the pizza scene.

Our pizzas are made with only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, sourced from local farmers and producers whenever possible. But what really sets us apart are our unique and bold flavor combinations.

From our Korean BBQ pizza with spicy pork, kimchi, and a sesame soy glaze, to our vegetarian-friendly Mexican Street Corn pizza with roasted corn, cotija cheese, lime crema, and chili flakes, our pizzas will take your taste buds on a wild ride.

We also have a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options, so everyone can join in on the fun.

But we don’t just stop at pizza – our appetizers, salads, and desserts are just as daring and delicious. Try our Crispy Brussels Sprouts with bacon and honey mustard glaze, or our Nutella and Marshmallow Dessert Pizza with graham cracker crumble.

And our commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop at our ingredients – we use eco-friendly packaging and recycling practices to minimize our environmental impact.

So come join us at Slice and experience pizza like never before. With flavors this bold, you won’t want to go back to the traditional stuff.

I was stunned upon my first read. This is spot on with what I asked and actually compelling copy for an advertisement. It’s in line with a lot of promotional writing I’ve experienced in my career. In short, if I received this from a copywriter, I would mark it as good work. But as I sat with it for a minute, my thinking started to shift in the opposite direction. Within a minute, my perceptions soured and I saw this result for what it truly was: mediocre and forgettable. 

AI-driven systems like ChatGPT rely on content that already exists in the world. Their models evaluate the quality of content based on numerous metrics to culminate what is “the best” across the internet’s collective mind. As a result, it can only replicate what is already out there in the world. The goal of strong and effective marketing, advertising, and branding is not to replicate, but to innovate.

ChatGPT’s output is strong when benchmarked against what other restaurants and brands write about themselves. But when benchmarked against innovation, newness, and differentiation, it falls flat on its face. The fact is, nothing about this advertisement is compelling enough to get my attention away from the pizza brands I already love. Oddly enough, this is where I think the power of the system truly exists.

In its current iteration, ChatGPT’s outputs shouldn’t be used to write what should be. Instead, it should be used to understand what should not be. Let’s break down the above output.

The ad starts with “freshest and highest quality ingredients, sourced from local farmers and producers.” If I counted how many times I’ve come across phrases like this in the industry, I’d be here for a very long time. Even if this is true, it’s nothing new and not going to gain attention. It’s been said. It’s been said often. And it doesn’t command any uniqueness at this stage.

“Unique and bold flavor combinations,” is the next phrase to scrutinize. Once again, not saying anything that hasn’t been said before, but this time with a dash of subjectivity. “Vegan and gluten-free options” is clearly playing off a perceived trend that would hook a niche group of people with buying power. Finally, the “commitment to sustainability” ticks the box of environmentalist expectations.

Collectively, this output serves one purpose: a hallmark for phrases and angles to avoid when crafting a brand’s strategic foundation. Because of their ubiquity, the elements contained within these paragraphs showcase overused propaganda points meaning a brand can never use them to build equity and alignment in the patron’s mind. In that way, it’s a fantastic tool.

ChatGPT outputs can also be used to evaluate the quality of distinction in the creative writing provided by professionals and agencies. If the proposed text lands close to the tone and talking points in the chatbot’s outputs, then one can grade the quality of work accordingly. 

The final word is simple, ChatGPT is a great way to output average content. However, it’s not going to create groundbreaking, thoughtful work. For restaurant brands where average would be an improvement, then I highly suggest having a go at leveraging the AI Chatbots power. For restaurant brands striving for category leadership, use the outputs as a benchmarking tool to evaluate the quality of work by your team and agency. The good news is, I get to keep my job, because ChatGPT isn’t up to the challenge of exceptional just yet.

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