“Come with me, and you'll be, In a world of AI-generated abominations…”

AI usage is no doubt a controversial topic in the creative sector, and for good reason. It has become something of a laughingstock when used for advertisement, image generation and especially when it’s used as a replacement for hiring an artist or designer. So you may be wondering, why is AI so looked down upon when used in these situations? 

There have been a few news stories that have contributed to the use of AI as being a bad thing, none more so than the infamous Willy Wonka Experience event scam, that was held in Glasgow on the 24th February 2024.  

Glasgow Willy Wonka Photo

The website and advertisements for the event were completely AI generated, and obviously not regulated, as they promised “Catgacating Live Perforrmances” and “A pasadise of sweet teats” just to name a few of the horrendously generated slogans. All the graphics showing the event and its attractions were fabricated and with hilariously bad UX to boot. Unfortunately, due to the lack of awareness of AI image generation at the time, many people fell for what they saw and bought tickets.  

When attendees showed up to the event, it was nothing like the spectacular AI-generated photographs had promised, and it quickly turned into a storm of angry parents, crying children, even to the extent that the police were called to the scene. The event was a complete scam – its most outstanding feature being the use of AI.  

In this case, AI tools had undoubtedly fallen into the wrong hands – the events organiser was a con-artist even before running this infamous event, and much of their previous work had also involved AI in some way. It put the dangers of AI right in the spotlight – causing worldwide scepticism and hatred towards artificially generated advertisements and marketing.  

To this day, I insist that AI use in creative spaces and advertising is something that should be avoided where possible – after such a catastrophic event that reached all corners of the world, it’s no wonder a layer of unprofessionalism coats the use of AI generated images when used to try and sell or promote. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and that is certainly the case with the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Experience. Now whenever I see an advert or post that is so obviously using an AI-generated image, I roll my eyes and carry on, assuming it to be another scam or click-bait stunt.  

Will the world ever move on from such a failure? AI remains a hotly debated topic, with so many conflicted opinions on its use, and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer right now. But one thing I encourage you to take away from this story - be incredibly selective and critical of how you use AI in marketing your brand or product, if you have to use it at all.  

Always try to connect with your audience through authentic images and means where possible, don’t hide behind robotic-sounding text or AI art – you’ll be setting not only your potential customers up for disappointment, but yourself too. There are great uses for AI out there –  but this is not one of them!  

About the author

Inky Simmons (They/Them)

The Lead QA and UX specialist of IJYI. I've been with the company since 2014, which makes me something of a veteran (I think!). Inside of work I enjoy assembling comprehensive test suites and bringing product ideas to life via wireframes and prototypes. Outside of work I enjoy playing with retro tech, collecting things, and trying my hand at any artistic craft I can (especially anything sewing related).