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The AI Era: Expanding marketing and creative potential

The words "AI expands potential" in black text over an outline of a global map

Editor’s note: Today, Vidhya Srinivasan spoke at the Cannes Lions Festival about AI and creativity. You can read edited excerpts from her remarks below.

When we apply AI for our billions of users, creators and businesses, the impact is exponential. AI in Search is helping people find answers to more specific and complex questions. It's also powering new ways to explore and create on YouTube where people are looking for possibilities, discovery and inspiration.

As we see AI evolve digital experiences, the role of advertising to connect people and businesses is as critical as ever. We help people find what they want in this vast world of information. And, as they explore, relevant and resonant creative is still what makes the difference for advertisers.

We believe generative AI will unlock enormous potential here. Scale, speed, and customization will reach new levels. Faster creative production, tailored media activation and real-time measurement will all work together to drive performance. That’s our multiyear vision but there’s so much this technology is doing for advertisers already.

First, you can use AI to generate insights about your audiences, so you can better understand their behaviors and come up with new strategies to engage them.

Then you can shorten and scale creative production to bring ideas to life faster. Take Veo, our latest and most advanced video generation model, which creates high definition content from nuanced creative prompts — you can even ask for specific cinematic techniques and visual effects. It created this lion just for Cannes.

And, with a new universe of assets, you can scale your campaigns to connect with more consumers much faster than ever before. In a recent Pixel 8 campaign Google Marketing used Demand Gen to generate 4,500 different ad variations that ran across YouTube, Discover and Gmail.

I think about AI like cameras on our phones. While some of us still play with film, today, the average picture or video is much better because of technology. But, that doesn’t mean we can all shoot magazine covers. No matter how much AI improves, it doesn’t have taste or ingenuity. But AI can open up new ways to expand your potential.

If last year was about "what is AI," this year is all about "how can I use AI?" In the past 12 months, search interest in "how to use AI" has increased 450% in the U.S. and 350% in the EU.1That’s a smart question to ask: As AI technologies improve and come into wider use, your creativity, your strategic thinking and your ability to use these tools will be the difference maker.

It's an exciting time to be a creative experimenting with AI. New models like Gemini are multimodal, which means they can reason across text, code, images, audio and video.

On stage today, Creative Lab Director Alex Chen showed how simply playing with AI can generate an infinite universe of ideas.

He showed some examples of how Google creatives are leading the way such as:

  • Our latest Best Phones Forever campaign launched at Cannes this week where our writers augment their storytelling process with AI, which provides drafts and options to respond to user comments in real time, as they suggest where our phone friends should go next on their “AI Roadtrip.”
Collage of images showing Pixel and iPhone in various locations
  • Working with illustrators to reimagine what they can do with AI through our Infinite Wonderland project. They turned the classic "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" book into an endless universe of illustrations. Try it out for yourself at
Cover illustrations of Alice in Wonderland reimagined by artists and AI
  • Generating new alphabets made out of layered jello, ramen noodles or pool floaties with GenType.

As Alex said, you don't need any special expertise to start playing with AI. Right now is a perfect time for anyone to dive in and start exploring their own ideas. Human curiosity is only limited by the tools we have to explore. And with AI as a tool, the potential for creatives and creativity is limitless.

As with any new tech, it’ll take time to figure out how to make AI helpful for everyone. In many cases, we will need to experiment and learn to get to the right answers together and there are tools ready for you to play with now.

When we build AI responsibly by design, it is a powerful enabler that expands your potential. AI will help you explore ideas fast and help you scale them, enhancing creativity and performance together. For marketing, this means moving from one key visual to a universe of brand and creative assets — all created by you, with help from AI.

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Google Trends data covering the past 12 months, up to May 2024, US and Europe