Mark Read says artificial intelligence is helping firm win clients keen to tap into technology’s potential.


Copyright: – “‘It’s Fundamental’: WPP Chief on How AI Has Revolutionised Advertising”


From Serena Williams playing against incarnations of her younger self to millions of personalised messages from a Bollywood superstar to support small businesses in India, artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving a revolution in the global advertising industry.

Mark Read, the chief executive of London-listed WPP, the world’s largest marketing services company, said AI-led advertising practices were helping it win clients hungry to embrace the potential of a new technology.

“It is fundamental to WPP’s business in the future,” said Read, who added that he had tried the Microsoft-backed AI-powered search tool ChatGPT. “I would say that it has helped us win new business. We have been investing in it for a number of years.”

WPP paid an estimated £75m to buy Satalia, a London-based AI tech firm, two years ago as it sought to infuse the burgeoning technology into its creative and media-buying practices.

Recent applications include creating an ad campaign for Nike’s 50th anniversary, called Never Stop Evolving, featuring Williams facing off against versions of herself throughout her career.

In India, machine-learning was used to create a campaign for the Mondelēz-owned Cadbury featuring Shah Rukh Khan, which enabled the development of “millions” of personalised ads using the Bollywood star’s voice to help promote local businesses that struggled during the Covid pandemic.

Read said the company had also embraced generative AI, which creates new content rather than simply analysing existing data, in the same way ChatGPT had done in the chatbot sector.[…]

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