With the ever-growing popularity and newfound accessibility to AI tools, there is much debate about how to create the perfect prompt to achieve flawless results. Dentsu Creative Portugal took an entirely different approach when they came to design the artwork for electronic music festival — Jardim Sonoro — instead turning the erratic interpretations of visual AI platforms into truly unique works of art.
After taking home a Bronze at Cannes Lions 2023, we caught up with the team to unpack the out-of-the-box thinking behind “The Unimaginable Return”.
HOW DID THIS IDEA COME ABOUT?
Jardim Sonoro is a client we’ve been working with closely for several years now, so we understand that festival’s unique identity relies on its approach and its presence among natural venues.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Jardim Sonoro was looking to make a comeback in-person. More than ever, it would be immersed in nature, merged in one of the most idyllic locations in Lisbon.
After years of award-winning campaigns for this client it was a hard task to imagine how we could design the artwork to be even more merged in nature than the previous years. At the same time, AI and image generation platforms were in their embryonic phase, with Mid Journey being one of the most used and advanced programs, so we decided to let AI do the imagining for us.
Knowing that often master pieces come from errors, and that the early development stages of these platforms presented some flaws, we believed that by challenging the machine to ’imagine’ the unimaginable, and working synergistically with it, we could achieve some inconceivable and unique outputs.
WHAT PLATFORMS DID YOU USE?
When we started working on this campaign there were not many AI platforms yet and the outputs they provided were often bizarre rather than accurate.
We used Mid Journey because it worked perfectly to ‘imagine’ the unimaginable.
HOW MUCH WORK GOES INTO CREATING THE ‘PERFECT’ PROMPT?
Back then, everyone was still kind of a curious beginner, playing with the possibilities and quirky world of AI image generation.
We didn’t want perfection. That’s what drove us to this resource. The idea of using a platform with often uncertain and twisted outputs was what made it so magical for our intentions and purposes. So, the ‘perfect’ prompt was kind of a relative term for us.
We knew we wanted to mix each musical artist with their main characteristics using natural elements. For example, we blended Sam the Kid — famous for knowing where to hunt for the next beat — with a fox.
From there, it was trial and error, knowing that the error more than the right and literal output was what had the potential to turn the campaign into something exquisite.
We also steered the machine with art direction prompts and kept fine tuning those too. But it was a laborious operation to find the ‘right wrong’. The most exquisite piece is something that requires some serious digging.
HOW DID YOU WORK HAND IN HAND WITH AI?
We knew we had to identify and separate what was truly great, as far as design and art direction are concerned, and what wasn’t.
We only knew the kind of territorial visual we wanted we wanted for each artist. Other than that, we challenged the machine and selected the artwork we felt that was as weirdly beautiful as we wanted to extract.
The combination of our human know-how and the naïve interpretations of these early-stage platforms resulted in something hard to imagine or achieve till then. Kudos to the machine, kudos to us!
WERE THERE ANY RESULTS THAT WERE JUST TOO STRANGE TO USE?
Of course. The curation stage of the process took us some time!
WHAT RECEPTION DID THE ARTWORK RECEIVE FROM AUDIENCES?
From the creative industry to the music industry, all over the world, the reactions were very positive and of real amazement regarding the possibilities illustrated by the project.
The goal to create something that was already unimaginable for the human brain was fulfilled, as most of the people impacted were just as stunned as we were when we discovered and selected each artwork.
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE INSPIRED YOU TO EXPLORE OTHER USES FOR AI IN MARKETING CAMPAIGNS?
Sure! And as AI continues to evolve, and its possibilities become endless, it’s tempting to keep thinking how we can use it in our favor and push the limits to create something new and relevant.
That’s another important part. Relevance is everything. Nowadays we see new works each day with new approaches and new perspectives, so the challenge is how to stay ahead of the curve.
We always keep an eye and both hands on these tools, to keep informed of the limits and possibilities. If unique insights and ideas come to us, that demand the use of AI, we will surely try and use it in our favor again.
In our industry we must keep up with these innovations to create and maybe sometimes to help our jobs and enhance our vision too.