Measure for measure?: generative AI spooks brands and prompts PACT to act

There’s no escaping it, generative AI is getting right under everybody’s skin at the moment. Its widespread use in advertising is leading some brands to issue demands and warnings hither and thither in a bid to contain it and stop it, as they see it, from threatening their businesses.

Following on from discussions and advice that first surfaced last year, and as reported by Ad Age (subscription required), a new study reveals that companies and organisations are expressing concerns to the advertising community that the use of generative AI might “taint the final output with the creative imprint of another brand” and are worried about “the potential use of their own intellectual property being used to train AI models”. These concerns are leading to the inclusion of a “no AI, no how” clause in the contracts they sign with their agencies.

“Recently, we won three new pieces of business and in the [master service agreement] it says, ‘You’re not allowed to use AI of any kind, without prior authorization,’ So, that even means they don’t want us to use AI to help work on concepts, not just anything that goes out the door.”

anonymous ad agency CEO

Meanwhile, over in ad agency land, there’s a feeling that clients might be being a bit too indiscriminate with their ban. Generative AI and machine learning-based technologies are being used to speed up and streamline processes and workflows, reducing the time and cost associated with things like pitching, storyboarding, language versioning and other labour-intensive tasks.

In the independent film and television production industry, working with “industry experts”, Televisual’s Jon Creamer reports that trade body PACT has published “iterative” guidelines on the implications of using generative AI.

“AI has long been used in the TV and film industry, but this fast-moving technology brings with it risks as well as opportunities. That is why Pact has worked with AI experts to develop a framework for members to be able to assess the risks involved, as well as maximising the opportunities to continue to create quality content.”

John McVay, CEO, PACT (pictured above)

PACT’s Generative AI Principles

“The following principles should be considered by Pact members when using generative AI in TV and film productions:”

  1. Respecting copyright: Pact considers that copyright works should be protected from being used illegally in contravention of UK copyright law.
  2. Valuing human creativity: Pact believes in the value of human creativity and artistic talent in the production process. This cannot be replaced by AI
  3. Responsibility and accountability: Pact considers that there should be transparency over the use of generative AI tools within the production process. Pact members will continue to take responsibility for all content that they produce
  4. Diversity and inclusion: Pact supports minimising and mitigating bias in AI models, and encourages members to use generative AI tools that have been developed to express diversity
  5. Data Privacy: Pact agrees that privacy must be protected and promoted throughout the AI lifecycle and production process

PACT’s Generative AI Guidance

“To accompany the principles, the Pact generative AI guidance has been developed by looking at how AI is used at each stage of the production process. During each stage, members are asked to consider the risks and opportunities of using generative AI.”

All in all, is this a storm in a tea cup? Is it Canute against the waves? Or the boy with the finger in the dyke? Or are the worries warranted and the doubters and the haters right to try and curb the use of machine learning and particularly generative AI, especially with all those concerns about how machine learning models are trained?

If you have been reading about generative AI and maybe even trying it out for yourself and you’re just not sure how to go about using it safely and responsibly in a professional context and could use a bit of advice and guidance, why not get in touch for a chat? At Mondatum, Colin Birch ( and John Rowe ( are your initial points of contact.