Hornby insists merger will create ‘WPP’s AI speedboat’

hornbyThe&Partnership has become the latest agency to put AI at its heart by merging with sister media buying and planning agency mSix&Partners to create a new fully-integrated agency which co-founder Johnny Hornby – never a man to miss an opportunity – claims will effectively become WPP’s AI “speedboat”.

Dubbed T&Pm, the agency maintains that although AI is transforming marketing communications, from the creation of content to its deployment and optimisation, the siloed nature of the marketing industry limits its adoption.

WPP-backed T&Pm promises to “connect talent and tech to fuel brand growth”, combining capabilities across creative and media, experience and technology, citing its work for the likes of Toyota and News Corp as perfect examples of the “genuinely end-to-end marketing solutions” it has already built.

The move is designed to be the next evolution in The&Partnership’s long-term strategy to provide clients with integrated, agnostic answers to their marketing challenges by uniting the agencies.

The&Partnership insists it is one of the world’s fastest growing creative networks, more than doubling revenues over the past five years through major clients including Mars, Toyota, NatWest, Telus and News Corp.

Similarly mSix&Partners, a joint venture with GroupM, has established itself as one of WPP’s fastest growing media agencies, creating performance-led solutions for clients including EA, easyJet, and PVH’s Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

T&Pm will aim to build on this momentum, applying its independent partner-led mindset to WPP’s market-leading AI platforms, to effectively become WPP’s AI ‘speedboat’, and accelerate growth across its entire roster of clients.

With 1,900 staff, spanning four continents with 45 offices worldwide, the new combined company will be operational from today.

Hornby said: “Looking back, I’m not sure whose idea it was for our industry to separate creative and media agencies, but I’m sure the motives were more profit – than client-driven. If that separation ever made any sense, it certainly doesn’t today.

“Modern brands need to connect the dots, brilliant creative thinking can’t be divorced from the smart media systems that bring it to life, all of which can now be personalised at scale by breakthroughs in AI.

“AI’s power really is at a pivot point for our industry, but will only be harnessed by a much more holistic approach. Combining our unique model with WPP’s £250m annual AI investment, means T&Pm will be well placed to help our clients seize this opportunity.”

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