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The end of stock websites and creative agencies? How generative AI will take over the marketing industry

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As marketing managers, we are always looking for ways to improve our campaigns, streamline our processes, and, most importantly, make our budgets stretch further. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in the creative space, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up. A prime example of this is Midjourney, an AI image generator that could revolutionize the way we approach visual marketing.

Midjourney is unique among AI image generators in that it creates dream-like, artistic visuals from text-based prompts. This isn't just an AI tool - it's a veritable painting tool, capable of producing a variety of unique images for any given input​​. And with constant improvements (click here to read about MidJourney 5.2) and updates, the most recent version promises higher image quality and a wider stylistic range, making it even more versatile​​.

But what does this mean for marketing managers? First off, it can lead to significant cost savings. If your campaigns traditionally rely on real models, professional illustrators, or expensive 3D modelling software, (not to mention the overhead of managing all of this...) you'll be familiar with the associated costs. Midjourney, however, could dramatically reduce these expenses. The AI tool can generate a variety of high-quality images from a single text-based prompt, potentially negating the need for high-cost human models, artists, and complex software.

Furthermore, using Midjourney could lead to quicker turnaround times. Where organizing photoshoots or designing detailed illustrations can take days or weeks, Midjourney can produce imagery in mere seconds. This could give your campaigns the edge in today's fast-paced marketing landscape, allowing you to respond to trends and changes in real-time.

Below: A comparison of costs of 'Images for Editorial use' on Shutterstock (left) and MidJourney (right) for images of the "dragon boat races in Hong Kong". 9/10 people would unlikely know that this is AI-generated without a close inspection. The AI image is arguably better composed and more engaging than the expensive stock photography.


However, it's important to approach with caution. Midjourney operates through Discord and requires command-style prompting in English, which might have a learning curve for some teams​​. More importantly, potential copyright issues have been raised, and these should be taken into consideration before incorporating Midjourney's output into any campaigns. 


Copyright & Licensing 

In terms of copyright and trademark, by using Midjourney's services, you grant the company a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, publicly display, perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the services, or assets produced by the service at your direction. This license persists even after termination of the agreement. However, you retain ownership of all assets you create with the services, provided they are created in accordance with the agreement. This excludes upscaling images owned by others.

If you are an employee or owner of a company with annual gross revenue exceeding $1,000,000 USD and using the services on behalf of your employer, you must purchase a “Pro” membership for every individual using the services on your behalf to retain ownership of the assets you create. If you are not a paid member, you don't own the assets you create; instead, Midjourney grants you a license to the assets under the Creative Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License.

Assets created are publicly viewable and remixable, but with the "Pro" plan, you can bypass some of these public sharing defaults. If you purchase the Stealth feature, Midjourney makes best efforts not to publish any assets you make where you have engaged stealth mode. However, any image made in a shared or open space such as a Discord chatroom is viewable by anyone in that chatroom, regardless of whether Stealth mode is engaged​.

Embracing Midjourney could be a key step in joining the AI wave, upgrading your marketing imagery, and staying ahead of the curve. But it's more than just a cost-saving measure or a trendy tool - it's a testament to how AI can transform the creative process, offering unprecedented levels of diversity and innovation.

The future of marketing is here, and it's full of potential. As we continue to explore the capabilities of AI and tools like Midjourney, we can anticipate a marketing landscape that's more dynamic, efficient, and engaging than ever before. Are you ready to take the Mid-journey?


Looking to get started with AI for your business and team in Hong Kong? Speak with one of our experts to find out how we can help!

Laurent Ross

About the Author

11+ years of work in client and project management in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand - Laurent is uniquely qualified to manage campaigns which require a deep knowledge of both Western and Chinese digital systems.

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