Legendary CMO Jeff Charney Launches AI-Powered Ideation Engine

Survey of 1,200 Pro Marketers Finds 75% Optimistic about AI

Read time: 5 minutes

Hi AI Pro!

In today’s edition, a new AI-driven creative ideation engine from marketing legend Jeff Charney, Google temporarily yanks the text-to-image capability for drawings of humans after embarrassing outputs, and more…


  • Top News: Legendary CMO Jeff Charney Launches AI-Powered Ideation Engine

  • Media Matters: NY Times Planning GenAI Tool for Targeting Ads

  • GenAI Gaffe: Google Suspends Pics of Humans from Gemini Text-to-Image

  • Data Deals: Planning IPO, Reddit Signs $60M Yearly Deal to Supply Data to Google

  • Survey Results: 1,200 Pro Marketers Find 75% Optimistic about AI

  • Today’s Master Marketing Tip: Tony Zambito


Legendary CMO Jeff Charney Launches AI-Powered Ideation Engine

MKHSTRY, an invite-only national marketing collective launched in 2022, on Tuesday announced the launch of an AI-powered “creative ideation engine” to help users “trigger their own ‘lightbulb’ moments” in a fraction of the usual time.

MKHSTRY AI’s training was supervised by Jeff Charney, the company’s CEO and a former Fortune 500 CMO for brands including QVC, Aflac, and Progressive. His most famous campaigns include Progressive's 'Flo' character (16 years in market), 'Dr. Rick' (8 years in market), and the 'Aflac duck' (24 years in market).

Jeff Charney, founder and CEO of MKHSTRY

"I love this industry and am committed to doing whatever it takes for it to continue to thrive,” Charney said in the announcement.

“Our product stands out from the overcrowded AI pack by being laser-focused on what we know is the most important word in marketing – creativity – specifically igniting that big idea spark that has always been the catalyst for historic campaigns," he said.

MKHSTRY AI is now rolling out to an existing slate of clients and select brands. After reviewing the results of its initial client testing, MKHSTRY will decide how it will expand access, either on a broader invitation-only basis to companies or to the general consumer market.

Top-tier marketers looking for early access can learn more and sign up at www.mkhstry.ai.


NY Times Planning GenAI Tool for Targeting Ads

The New York Times plans to release a generative AI (GenAI) service in the second half of this year that’s designed to better target ads, and is currently recruiting select advertisers to participate in its development, Axios reported.

The Times is experimenting with multiple large language models (LLMs) to power the new tool, Mohit Lohia, senior vice president and head of the publisher's digital advertising mission, told Axios.

The new technology will deliver recommendations for where an ad campaign could perform best based on its message or objectives, and can target niche audiences based on interests or opinions that weren’t previously identifiable, according to the report.

In December, the Time sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement based on content produced by those two companies’ respective GenAI platforms, ChatGPT and Copilot.

"This [new GenAi initiative] obviously demonstrates that we believe GenAI is an enabler and can be something that is effective for our business when used responsibly," said Joy Robins, global chief advertising officer at NYT.”


Google Suspends Pics of Humans from Gemini Text-to-Image

Following public criticism last week regarding the historically inaccurate depictions of people generated by its text-to-image service called Gemini, Google has temporarily suspended access to the software.

According to a report by The Verge, when asked to create an illustration of a 1943 German solider, Gemini produced pictures of nonwhite people in Nazi uniforms. It also created depictions of nonwhite founders of the US constitution and members of Congress in the 1800s, when in fact they were all white men.

Google announced the suspension of images of humans in Gemini, saying on Twitter, “We're going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon.”

Also last week, OpenAI, the company behind the AI text generator ChatGPT, announced it had resolved an issue that caused “unexpected responses,” when users began to notice it was producing nonsensical sentences. The errors were attributed by OpenAI to a coding “bug.”


Planning IPO, Reddit Signs $60M Yearly Deal to Supply Data to Google

Reddit, the news aggregation, content rating, and social forum network that filed initial papers on Thursday for a planned initial public offering, has signed a deal worth $60 million annually to supply Google with data from Reddit’s to support “new ways to display Reddit content and provide more efficient ways to train [AI] models.”

Reddit has yet to earn a profit since its founding in 2005, losing $128 million on revenue of $485 million in 202, and losing $159 million on $667 million of revenue in 2022, according to its IPO filing with the SEC. Expected pricing for the company’s initial public offering hasn’t been released yet.

“We’re ushering in new ways for Reddit content to be displayed across Google products by providing programmatic access to new, constantly evolving, and dynamic public posts, comments, etc., on Reddit,” the company announced.

“Over the years,” Google announced, “we’ve seen that people increasingly use Google to search for helpful content on Reddit to find product recommendations, travel advice and much more. We know people find this information useful, so we’re developing ways to make it even easier to access across Google products.”


Survey of 1,200 Pro Marketers Finds 75% Optimistic about AI

A new survey of 1,200 marketing professionals in the US, EMEA, and Australia about the perceived impact of AI in their work reveal that 75% are optimistic that AI will not only create jobs but also unlock new avenues for business growth, such as personalized customer experiences and data-driven campaign optimization.

Also, more than a third (37%) see AI as becoming an integral part of their overall skillset as marketers, according to the survey which was conducted by Wakefield Research and commissioned by Iterable, the provider of an AI-powered customer communication platform.

As to the extent marketers are actively adopting and experimenting on the job with artificial intelligence, 91% say they currently are, with a particular emphasis on GenAI. A substantial majority (67%) say they view AI as “more than just a tool for efficiency and productivity; they see it as a technological revolution,” according to the survey report’s sponsors.

Almost half of the survey respondents (49%) said they find AI “intimidating,” citing heightened expectations (54%) and the challenge of meeting new compliance or regulatory standards (49%) as primary sources for their trepidation.

A significant percentage (89%) said they are at least “somewhat concerned” about the need to acquire AI skills to maintain their value as marketers and 28% are “extremely concerned.”


“Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.”

— Tony Zambito, former senior marketing exec with Knight-Ridder and Compaq/HP

Tony Zambito innovated the concept of buyer personas, which radically changed how businesses, marketing, and sales view and interact with their buyers.


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