May 30, 2024

Can AI and Humans Be Friends?

As advertising and marketing undergoes a rapid transformation at an unprecedented pace, it is crucial to recognize the revolutionary power and impact of generative AI is having on our daily working lives. At Collide-AI, a division of Now We Collide, we are at the forefront of this revolution, harnessing the capabilities of AI to find new and exciting ways to deliver projects, while uncovering incredible efficiencies along the way. However, amidst the excitement surrounding AI, it is essential to acknowledge the irreplaceable role of human creativity and expertise in shaping the future of how we work.

In this new era of AI, ‘The Age of Intelligence’, I firmly believe that the success of our industry lies in the synergy between this advanced new technology and human ingenuity. While AI offers immense possibilities, it is the human touch that truly brings the magic to life. At Collide-AI, we have identified four critical human skills that are essential for thriving in this AI-driven world: critical thinking, emotional intelligence, ethics, and passion.

Critical thinking is a foundation upon which we build AI-powered campaigns. It allows us to analyse the vast amounts of information and outputs generated by AI, ensuring its accuracy, and to make strategic decisions based on the insights provided by the machine. Critical thinking allows humans to discern between valuable information and noise, ensuring that AI-generated content aligns with the desired objectives. This human discernment is crucial in navigating the complex landscape of AI-driven advertising, enabling us to create campaigns that are not only data and insights driven but also strategically sound.

Emotional intelligence is another vital human skill that sets us apart, providing critical human input. While AI can generate visually stunning and highly personalized content, it is the human understanding of emotions that truly connects with audiences on a deep level. Our team’s ability to empathize with the target audience, craft compelling narratives, and evoke powerful emotions is what transforms our AI-generated content into memorable and impactful experiences. By combining the efficiency of AI with the emotional depth of human creativity, we can create campaigns that forge lasting bonds between brands and consumers.

Ethics and responsibility are at the core of everything we do at Collide-AI. As we harness the power of AI, we are acutely aware of the potential risks and challenges that come with this technology. Our human judgment and moral compass ensure that we develop and deploy AI in a manner that is transparent, accountable, and aligned with our values. We should actively work to mitigate biases, protect user privacy, and promote inclusivity and diversity in the AI-generated content we create. By upholding ethical standards, we not only create a responsible approach to working with AI  but also contribute to shaping the future of AI in our industry.

Passion is a driving force behind our work at Collide-AI. Our team’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible using LLMs fuels our innovation and sets us apart in the industry. Don’t be content with simply leveraging AI for efficiency; be passionate about exploring new ways to combine AI with human creativity to create truly groundbreaking concepts, strategies and outcomes. This passion is evident in every project we undertake, from meticulous attention to detail in our AI-augmented content, to the ongoing pursuit of delivering exceptional results for our clients.

Our recent collaboration with ESPN on the “Your Home For Hoops” campaign exemplifies the power of combining AI with human creativity. In our third year of the campaign, we set the ambitious goal of using Generative AI as the main creative, design, and animation pipeline. By leveraging generative AI, we aimed to create a unique visual style and experience that would captivate basketball fans and excite them about ESPN’s basketball offering.

The success of the campaign relied on the seamless fusion of artificial intelligence and human expertise. Led by Bob Connelly, Now We Collide’s Director of Generative AI, along with our in-house team of creatives, strategists, and technologists, we worked hand-in-hand with our very own AI diffusion pipeline, guiding its input data and generated outputs, to ensure that it aligned with ESPN’s brand identity, resonated with their target audience, and adhered to the quality standards we were after. The human touch was essential in refining the AI-generated content, injecting emotional depth, and crafting visual narratives that struck a chord with basketball fans.

Throughout the campaign, we relied on critical thinking to evaluate the AI’s output and make strategic decisions that would maximize the impact of our message. Human emotional intelligence allowed us to understand the passion and excitement of the game, the players and the moments, enabling us to create gen AI outputs that truly connected with audiences on an emotional level.

The success of the “Your Home For Hoops” campaign is a testament to the power of combining AI with human creativity and ingenuity. By leveraging the strengths of both, we were able to deliver a campaign that maximized reach and engagement within the rapidly growing niche audience of basketball fans. This campaign serves as a great example of what is possible when we embrace the synergy between AI and human ingenuity to find new ways to create.

As we navigate this exciting new era of AI-driven advertising, it is crucial to remember that technology is a tool, not a replacement for human creativity. The future of advertising belongs to those who can successfully navigate the intersection of AI and human expertise, leveraging the strengths of both to create truly groundbreaking campaigns.

By fostering a culture that values critical thinking, emotional intelligence, ethics, and passion, we are poised to lead the industry into a future where AI and human creativity collide, delivering unparalleled experiences for brands and consumers alike.

The “Your Home For Hoops” campaign is just the beginning of what we can achieve, and as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with AI, we remain committed to our belief that the human touch will always be the driving force behind the most impactful and memorable campaigns.

The rise of AI in advertising presents both challenges and opportunities. We are excited to be at the forefront of this revolution, leading the way in harnessing the power of AI while celebrating the irreplaceable value of human creativity. 

As we embark on this exciting journey, we hope brands and advertisers will join us in exploring the limitless possibilities that arise when AI and human creativity find synergy. Together, we can create a future where advertising not only informs and persuades but also inspires and connects on a deeper, more meaningful level.


COLLIDE-AI is a groundbreaking division of full service agency Now We Collide, dedicated to providing state-of-the-art generative AI solutions for advertising and marketing. By harnessing the power of advanced AI technologies, such as large language models, Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG), and synthetic media creation, Collide-AI empowers businesses to create captivating, data-driven content.  

A synergy of human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to create a new paradigm of possibilities.

For more visit: 

To find out more about the ESPN Your Home For Hoops project visit: 

December 4, 2023

The Creative Store: Creative Talk with Ryan Bodger

Now We Collide is a Sydney, Australia-based creative agency that is embracing AI as part of their everyday.  We talk to Ryan Bodger, co-founder and now the CCO about navigating AI via their arm Collide-AI and what this entails.

Appeared in THE CREATIVE STORE newsletter.

Ryan, give us the backstory – who are you and where did you come from?

A couple of decades ago, I started out as a junior broadcast cameraman and video editor at the Nine Network, where I stayed for a few years until the transition to a new digital world took hold through the dot com bubble in the late ’90s. In 1998 I co-founded the digital agency Tricky Design (now and delivered campaigns and projects for high profile clients including Telstra, IBM and NAB (to name a few).

In 2003 I was given the opportunity to work in Japan as the Digital Creative Director for Nikkei Net, Japan’s largest news corporation, taking the lead in the redesign and development of Nikkei Net’s English website.

In 2006 I landed back in Sydney and went on to co-found Now We Collide with business partner and CEO Keir Maher in 2015, where I now work as CCO, with an awesome team, overseeing and delivering digitally integrated campaigns and projects for a broad range of great clients.

You have a great range of clients – do you focus on certain sectors, or enjoy the breadth and variety?

We are lucky in that the client partnerships we have built over the years have continued to grow and prosper. We have really spent the time nurturing them, helping them achieve their business goals while building strong relationships. While we don’t focus on particular verticals we specialise in helping big global brands deliver their marketing efforts across APAC and other regions. 

Your website states you are pioneers in the field of AI – how are you working in the AI space?

Right now we are witnessing the rapid advancement of deep neural networks in language, image, audio and video synthesis, resulting in remarkably precise, realistic, and customisable outputs. What was once blurry and low-resolution has now transformed into highly realistic and aesthetically impressive imagery, ushering in a new era of synthetic media. In late 2022 we setup Collide-AI driven by a passion to test, experiment and learn what this new technology can do, while seeing an opportunity to bring it into our everyday workflow.

How do you see the future of AI changing the face of a typical agency?

At COLLIDE-AI we believe that AI is not the creative solution for all projects or briefs. It doesn't provide all the answers, or simply replace more traditional creative development or production, nor should it. It is our belief that AI should be adopted as another creative tool for brands and marketers to get their message to market, at speed, in unique and exciting ways. We are conscious of the ethical issues surrounding its use and ensure we are not using it in the wrong way, using specific artists as reference for style and output. What is incredible about generative AI is the way we can come up with new ideas we may never of dreamed of in a much shorter period of time. This is based on how we are using it, prompting and engineering our outputs. It is not a simple process of prompting a few words in and hoping for the best. The processes we use, especially for AI video, is quite complex and uses a number of tools and techniques to get results that push the boundaries. In terms of the future and changing face of the typical agency, I think it is up to agencies to find the AI tools that suit their style or approach best, to find ways to adapt. There is no value in sticking your head in the sand and being stuck in old ways, the game has definitely changed.

Covering Content Marketing – Do you recommend HubSpot as the main tool? How & why would you recommend this CRM for clients?

We work with our clients from developing initial strategy, through to creative and ideation, content creation and media distribution. HubSpot is a fantastic platform to help us understand how all this comes together to achieve objectives and gain insights on what's working and how to optimise. HubSpot connects marketing activities, with sales, content management and customer service - so it really allows us to see the full customer lifecycle and understand the impact of marketing throughout all those stages. We work closely with our clients to ensure they are getting the best out of the software and we collaborate to gain insights, plan and optimise marketing activities.

What has been your most exciting creative to work on to date?

As a person with a life long love of playing and watching basketball, a campaign we recently delivered was for ESPN, creating their brand platform ‘Your Home For Hoops’. This initiative has been in development for a few years now and it has been exciting to see it unfold through such a strong period of growth for basketball in Australia. I’d like to think the campaigns we have run for ESPN, NBA, NBL, NBA Basketball School in Australia have helped to fuel this interest and growth. What has been most exciting about it, is the opportunity it has given us to push the creative boundaries and experiment with many different ideas, production techniques and concepts. You can check out some of the work here.

How do you curate a positive culture at Now We Collide?

By being open, honest and collaborative with our clients, our team and everyone we come into contact. Early Fridays' in summer, flexible working, rostered birthdays off, fun events, regular 'community days' where we give back to the community, the odd long lunch and gatherings and a passion for nurturing ideas and creativity also helps.

Do you look to other companies / have a mentor – whether that is in Australia or overseas?

I’ve been lucky enough to end up with a business partner who at times acts as a mentor, keeps my wandering creative mind on the straight and narrow and ensures things are as much about function as well as form.

As far as other companies go for inspiration I have always had a curiosity for tech-enabled creativity, so am always on the lookout for people, agencies or artists doing new, incredible things, be it here or overseas. I feel like the space for creative innovation is now more exciting than it has ever been before. 

How has 2023 been for you?  What are you looking forward to in 2024?

2023 has been exciting but challenging. Coming out of Covid posed many new challenges. I felt empathy for employees and clients who had effectively been working in a bubble for over two years, while this year gave people an opportunity to properly reconnect and travel again without as many rules and restrictions. I think people came into 2023 feeling quite restless with a need to explore again. As an agency, we doubled in size during COVID so it was a tricky juggle to find new talent and integrate them into the business. 2023 has opened things back up and brought the team back into the office, which is so important as a creative agency. 2024 will be another exciting year for us with many new and exciting projects currently in the pipes set to launch in the new year. 

Last words?

Collide-AI watch this space.

November 18, 2022

Why AI is the assistant every creative needs

Full article published by The Australian

If you work in advertising or digital marketing, some of today’s emerging technology might seem a little threatening. But just as television didn’t kill the radio, intuitive AI won’t spell doom for human creativity either. Ryan Bodger, Chief Creative Officer at Now We Collide, explains why we should look on the bright side.

 Not long ago I was working with a client and telling them about the improvement I’d seen in AI-generated copy. They were, it’s safe to say, dubious.

So we did a little experiment and produced a few different versions answering the copywriting brief they’d sent our way. Oh, and one we slipped in there was produced by an AI source. 

Lo and behold, their preferred option was penned by the machine.

Others were at it before us. In 2018, Lexus released an advertisement completely scripted by AI. The company used IBM Watson, an AI system, to analyse 15 years of award-winning car ads. Watson managed to identify the elements of successful ads that resonated most with audiences - and did it with aplomb.

If this sounds like an unconvincing way to open a piece reassuring you that the machines aren’t going to put creatives out of business, well, fair enough. 

But bear with me, because where pure creativity is concerned, I’m convinced AI is the assistant we need right now and not an existential threat. Here’s why. 

In the media and technology industries machine learning has thus far mostly been associated with measurement. In recent years we’ve been swamped by a sudden deluge of data with no way to make sense of it. The solution was AI.

Ask most people and they’d say machines replacing human brains for repetitive tabulation tasks is a good thing. Well, AI can do something very similar for creatives. There are now huge efficiencies to be had in developing concepts and getting them back to clients quickly. 

At Now We Collide, for example, we’re already experimenting with art and text generators like Open AI & Broca for copy, tagline and idea generation. And we’re running tests on video and animation solutions that can help our designers come up with new ideas and expedite existing ones (see below).

We’re also using MidJourney, Dall-e2 and Stable Diffusions DreamStudio for visual concept development and content generation. It’s a new and exciting world - and one that can make us much more efficient as businesses.

In many cases, having this AI in our toolkit means tasks that would’ve taken two to three weeks from conception to delivery can be achieved much quicker. And this is especially important when speed to market is key to keeping share-of-voice high for most brands.

Measuring up in a creative space

In the world of measurement you’ll often hear people from tech companies extolling the virtues of giving the AI the richest data possible. The theory being that what you put in correlates strongly with what you get out. This is having some interesting knock on effects in the creative realm.

We’re now considering the types of roles the intersection of human output and AI technology is creating. There’s now a place in businesses like ours for what we are calling the Prompt Architect or Engineer. This is a role that involves working with AI, providing it with the right stimulus, or ‘prompts’ in order to get the best possible results. 

Of course, we’ll never replace the human element entirely, but the ability to maximise the output of AI shapes as a very important new job skill. It’s an interesting inversion to think that great results can come from humans learning machine learning language, rather than us teaching AI what to do.
And if you’re not convinced of AI’s efficacy yet, well, we’re already seeing some exciting developments in the fashion and cosmetics space. In the example pictured below, the model, hair and makeup were all created by an AI source in under two hours - derived from refining a single prompt sheet of images.

Image generated in Midjourney

And while AI used in this way could be disruptive for the fashion industry, it’s fair to assume this approach isn’t going to work for everyone just yet. But given the potential, I think that brands and marketers will certainly be interested in faster, more cost-effective ways to get their messages to market.

For creative businesses, there are simple ways you can experiment too. Being a big basketball fan, and working with ESPN on creating ‘Your Home For Hoops’ brand platform, I’ve started a BallArt Instagram account as a way to experiment and explore new visual concepts. Just by showcasing what’s possible via AI creativity, it provides us with a way to quickly realise which ideas work with a specific audiences.

Image from @ballart76

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the rise of machine learning in the creative space for me, though, is the ability to generate fresh ideas and new ways of thinking at a much quicker pace. A lot of effort goes into ideation, and having a collection of thought starters can be a very powerful thing.
If you’re still not convinced, then consider this. For agencies - particularly smaller Indies like us - leaning into this technology can also be a great selling point for clients. It’s a sign you move with the times and embrace agility - and that you’re not afraid to experiment with new trends in the quest for success. 

For brands, I say, don’t be scared of it. Embrace it, test it and work with those who are doing likewise. At the end of the day, it’s just another software solution, but one that could really make a difference to your next campaign.