Sarah Golding

Sarah Golding on AI fuelling T&Pm as full-service agency

T&Pm launched on March 25 this year, with 1,900 employees across four continents and 45 offices worldwide. Golding talks about the reimagining of a full-service offering

By creative salon

Last month The&Partnership and mSix&Partners combined to form T&Pm, a fully integrated agency with AI at its core. The move aims to bridge the gap between creative and media agencies, providing end-to-end marketing solutions. It was one of the boldest and biggest agency structural moves of recent times, reuniting media and creative.

By harnessing AI's power, T&Pm plans to revolutionise marketing communications from content creation to deployment and optimisation.

It also marks the latest evolution of both the agency - which launched as Clemmow Hornby Inge in 2001 - and of Golding's groundbreaking 'Magic And The Machines' agenda, which she launched when she was IPA President in 2018.

We talk to Golding, who has taken on a global role at T&Pm, about the motivation behind reimagining a full-service offering.

Why have you decided to do this now?

This goes back to our history, and that’s reflected in our evolution from Clemmow Hornby Inge and beyond. We never wanted to be just a creative or media agency.

Now, because of our relationship with WPP we’ve been quick to work with AI, with clients such as Mars, Toyota and News UK, and when you start working with it [AI] you realise can’t live in glorious isolation anymore as the speed of creation, distribution and execution is so much quicker.

To make the most of the potential of AI, we need to have shared processes, data, and tools. A siloed relay race between creative and media leads to missed opportunities, and reduced effectiveness.

We firmly believe that the agency world can never be siloed again, it just doesn’t make sense to separate creative and media – you need a single team to provide a lens on both.

It opens up new brand storytelling opportunities – to do mass customisation at scale, to do immersive storytelling and bespoke on-demand content. And then it drives effectiveness and efficiency through the whole content creation and distribution experience. It’s not a miracle solution, but its impact reaches far and wide.

What we have been quick to do is wrap our arms around AI. For Lexus we created the first ad written by AI in 2016 by feeding it with all the award-winning car ads to create a film that was brave, albeit a tad illogical. It’s progressed so much since then.

The integration of our two thriving agencies will provide clients with uniquely integrated solutions to their marketing challenges. With WPP's $300 million annual AI investment, T&Pm is well-positioned to seize this opportunity.

In what way is AI driving this evolution for the agency?

AI is a multi-purpose technology that is opening up a whole host of changes and opportunities across the agency for our clients and our people. T&Pm believes that AI proficiency is crucial for future-proofing its workforce and aims to make everyone in the company proficient in it.

It’s opening up whole new ways of working – and we’ve reflected that in our AI Pods around the agency. We have Production Pods that give our teams access to custom rigs and tools for advanced workflows and techniques. We have Audience Pods that allow us to use AI tools to explore and iterate with our audiences. And we have new tools and spaces for AI Augmented Workshops – which we are running internally, but also with clients.

We also have spaces for people to experience the future of spatial computing, powered by AI, we are training people on how digital twins, synthetic media and data, and emerging tools like generative video and translation will transform how we create and how consumers consume.

What’s been most gratifying, is seeing the breadth of imagination and experimentation in how these tools are being applied. We’ve engaged every single function across our business, from admin, to ops, to design, to creative, to strategy, to addressable, to audience and data. They’ve taken these tools and made them their own, but also, we’ve learned how to get them to flow together across the journey.

It’s allowing us to get to mass personalisation and it can be used across the entire content creation journey. We’ve been working with key clients like Mars, to look at how it can support from strategy, to ideation, to asset creation, to dcomm optimisation, to custom media algorithms and more.

Now that AI is here you must embrace it – but it’s always going to need a human in the loop– I don’t think it will replace people. But it will change how we need to work, and the skills and capabilities we all need. Businesses are responsible for training their people, to be part of this next phase of evolution for our industry”

What does it mean for your clients that don’t use T&Pm’s full suite of services?

They can still benefit from having access to more versatile, "&-shaped" people. This means that even if they only use one service, they will have access to professionals who have a broad range of skills and expertise.

And what does it mean for your staff?

We have created working zones that exist throughout the agency, so we’re training people all the time, and running AI immersion sessions for our clients and partners” she says. “We have rolled out training for everyone across the agency, and now in phase two we are doing a wave of training focused specifically on different practices and capabilities. We don’t want to tell people how to use it, we want to empower our people to learn how to use it, in a way that brings out the best of them and their work.


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