Writing for Robots

Tech is infiltrating the advertising landscape in increasingly unexpected ways – including who, or what, will be judging your copywriting skills, writes our advertising correspondent Ben Kay

‘Target market’ or ‘Who are we talking to?’ has always been a central part of any advertising brief. If you don’t know who you’re addressing, how can you be confident about what you’re saying or how you’re saying it?

When I was younger, this was segmented into vaguely offensive categories, such as ‘C2D Housewives’, then planners started to flesh it out a bit: ‘Bill is in his 20s, probably in his first job since leaving school, married, likes playing video games, loves the Eagles,’ etc.

But whoever I’ve been asked to speak to, it was never: ‘Algorithm, programmed by tech person several thousand miles away, who has decided on the basis of some data that your communication should have this many words, this kind of imagery, and this tone of voice.’

However, strange as it may seem, that could well be the person you’re creating much of your work for.