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junio 19 2023

Omnicom Group to Debut Tool Using Generative AI for Advertising Employees


The tool, which uses Microsoft technology, can help build media plans and target ad audiences, among other tasks

Ad holding company Omnicom Group plans to debut its first generative artificial intelligence tool as part of a partnership with Microsoft: A virtual assistant to help ad agency employees with tasks across the advertising process such as compiling audience insights and building media plans.

Omni Assist is built on top of the company’s Omni platform. Unveiled in 2018, the platform was fashioned as a way for Omnicom’s agencies and clients to create, plan and execute ad campaigns using data. Omnicom said it continues to consider the use of Omni Assist as a beta test before rolling it out more broadly. The company developed Omni Assist using access to OpenAI’s GPT models through Microsoft Azure.

The launch of the new artificial intelligence tool comes after Omnicom in February said it intended to embrace generative AI as soon as possible.

“What took 15 years in terms of digital marketing transformation…I think AI is going to have that same impact in 36 to 60 months,” said Omnicom Group Chief Executive John Wren.

Employees could use Omni Assist to seek answers regarding which consumers to target for a specific type of cleaning product, for example, or to list influencers who might be the most effective in promoting a given product within a specific budget. The generative AI combs through troves of data in the Omni platform to formulate responses.

Omnicom frames the move as a way to get smarter answers in less time, with more workers being able to use deeper data analysis.

“What that is allowing us to do is take a lot of fairly nontechnical people, people that are not data scientists, and bring data science to the desktop,” said Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital.

Omnicom has built a steering committee to help navigate questions about generative AI. Marketers have been eager to embrace generative AI as it reaches new levels of sophistication, but the advertising industry still has concerns about issues like ethics, bias and who owns the output.

Omnicom client Clorox said it is willing to experiment with generative AI tools with guardrails in place and human assistance. The consumer and professional products company sees potential both in its own use of the technology and by partners like Omnicom, said Eric Schwartz, chief marketing officer and senior vice president.

“Technology is about moving faster, better meeting consumer needs, taking manual and repetitive work off people’s plates, so they can focus on higher impact work,” he said.

Originally published in The Wall Street Journal

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