WPP’s The&Partnership becomes full-service T&Pm in AI-fuelled revamp

Has AI brought the agency world full circle? WPP-backed The&Partnership thinks so and is combining with its media buying and planning agency mSix&Partners to form what it calls “a new fully-integrated agency with AI at its heart” under the new global brand T&Pm.

T&P (as was) now employs 1,900 people across four continents with 45 offices worldwide with claimed billing of over £1bn. Its biggest client is Toyota which it handles on a full-service base across Europe. M/Six handles media clients EA, easyJet, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

Founder and CEO Johnny Hornby says: “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.”

T&Pm, as it now is, is majority owned by WPP although it operates independently. In a long period with Sir Martin Sorrell at the helm of WPP Hornby was skilled at keeping the famed micro-manager at bay.

T&Pm says it will now become WPP’s ‘AI speedboat’ (although it doesn’t go so far as calling its owner an ocean liner.) It will be interesting to see if any of WPP’s other creative agencies (now mainly VML, Ogilvy and AKQA) go the same, back to the future route. Ogilvy is maybe the likeliest as it used to have its own media operation called Nexus.

This is an amended version of an earlier story.

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