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Just say NO to Naked Robots. An AI Impact on the Promotional Industry

You might want to add a tinfoil hat to your uniform program for this Have You Ever column...

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The robots are taking over.

And while we can’t yet fully realize the effects this is having on our future, there is one truth from observation that I challenge you to consider:

robots don’t wear branded apparel.

That’s right. With every introduction of an automated service solution — be it self-checkout computer terminals, automated teller machines (ATM), mobile banking and shopping applications, digital ticket tellers and all the other other code-driven conveniences — there is more digital dressing and fewer human bodies to be styled for performance, safety, and of course, brand recognition.

According to the GlobeNewswire,

“The global decorated apparel market size is expected to reach USD 68.17 billion by 2030, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9% over the forecast period.”

What might it have been with the addition of all the sidelined workers?

Now you can make a case that the apparel industry will find a way to recover from the loss of human lives stationed at service posts in corporate-provided fashions.

You can point to the rise in popularity of screen printing and digital transfers as means of personal expression. Online services are making it easier and faster to design, order and receive custom clothing orders. Maybe growth in that market is powered by the non-uniformed population.

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What would a reboot of the cult classic Kevin Smith film "Clerks" look like?

I challenge that this is simply a covert, robot-driven plot to leverage evolving automated (not artificial) intelligence (AI), to enable creation of mimicked styles, and rob the creative souls of artists, designers and skilled brand developers.

I don’t know exactly how AI will affect the promotional marketing industry long term. I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that soon the robots will write most of (or all) of pitch proposals, and inevitably they will take over the design and placement of fashion embellishments, and maybe one day they will rise up to pull on pants and polos and prove me wrong. But today is not that day.

If you value the contribution of human interaction, and are in some way invested in the future of branded apparel being designed, manufactured, decorated, packaged and delivered by humans like you, then show your support for the non-robots and insist on a checkout person.

You know, unless the line is like, really long. mem

as featured in the June 2023 edition of marketingedge magazine




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