Phrasee specialises in marketing technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate optimised marketing copy. It is stepping up its campaign to improve ethics in AI and marketing, launching an industry-wide call to arms to change the way marketers engage with, and communicate to, their audiences. At the heart of the initiative is a desire to remove some of the stigma around mental health and ensure marketers do not exploit it, in a world where consumers are marketed to online around the clock.
The campaign kicks off with the launch of ‘Emotions Matter: a starter guide to ethical marketing’, which includes ideas and advice from experts from the marketing, AI and academic communities. Contributors include industry influencers from Good-Loop, Gumtree, Hilton Worldwide, Virgin, Ogilvy, Marketing AI Institute and Social Chain. The guide outlines ten steps brands can take to kick-start their commitment to an ethical approach to marketing.
Phrasee is also launching a web page where interested companies and individuals can contribute ideas, insights and experiences, and show their support.
In an open letter outlining the company’s commitment to the campaign Phrasee’s founders Parry Malm, Victoria Peppiatt and Neil Yager, said: “For years, marketers have been encouraged to use spurious tactics to get people to buy more stuff. Too often we’ve heard it said that people buy because of fear or greed, so to get them to buy more stuff from you, you need to make them feel scared or greedy. As our lives are so inherently online now and we’re marketed to online all the time, the words, phrases, images and tactics that marketers use have a real effect on consumers. If these messages are making people feel afraid and anxious or inspiring greed, this has a real impact on mental health.”
“This isn’t a short-term campaign for us, it’s the lifeblood of our brand’s ideals,” said Parry Malm, CEO of Phrasee. “We are launching this initiative to do the right thing. Our guide is just the start, but we know that we don’t have all the answers and we can’t do it alone. We really want the marketing community to stand side by side with us to show a combined commitment to changing the conversation for the better. It’s extremely timely that World Mental Health Day falls at the start of one of the highest profile and thought-provoking events in the marketing calendar – a great opportunity for marketers to reflect and rethink their approach.”
“I strongly support the work Phrasee is doing with its Emotions Matter campaign,” said Matt Button, head of CRM and social at Gumtree.com. “I believe that marketers should value and respect their customers enough to market to them as they would like to be marketed to. Negative messaging can give marketers a bad name and alienate customers. And customers are people, just like us. I for one am definitely on board with this initiative.”
Phrasee recently launched its AI ethics policy, one of the first AI businesses to do so. It feels strongly that customers should know how their technology and data will be used and is calling on the wider industry to follow its lead.