Digital Transformation Google Artificial Intelligence

Google and Omnicom join forces on efforts to bring AI-generated creative to adland


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

June 21, 2023 | 6 min read

Through a partnership unveiled this week, Omnicom will have special access to Google’s new image-generating platform Imagen to create work for clients.

Omnicom website

Omnicom and Google are working together to bring AI-generated images to big brand campaigns / Adobe Stock

Omnicom announced at Cannes Lions Tuesday that it will have access to Google Cloud’s generative AI tools through a new partnership. As part of the agreement, Omnicom will be able to integrate the Vertex AI platform into its tech stack and access programs including large language model PaLM 2 and image-generating model Imagen, which debuted last fall.

The hope is that Omnicom will find valuable applications for the tools across its operations and creative processes.

“Omnicom has been leveraging AI for over a decade and the real game changer we are seeing right now is generative AI,” Paolo Yuvienco, Omnicom’s chief technology officer tells The Drum. “We are embracing the technology and are excited to have unique access to Google’s foundation models. We like to think of gen AI as giving our people superpowers, and models like Google’s Imagen will allow them to generate and customize personalized experiences at scale for our client’s customers.”

The company is particularly keen to take advantage of Imagen – it plans to integrate the tool into its operating system and data platform Omni. “By creating Omni as an open operating system, we’re able to quickly integrate these innovative models and mobilize them to thousands of Omnicom employees that use Omni. We’re especially excited to see how Imagen will unlock greater inspiration for our people and elevate the ideas created for clients,” said Jonathan Nelson, chief executive at Omnicom Digital, in a statement.

The company said in a press release that access to Imagen will allow over 17,000 Omni users to use Imagen in partnership with Omni’s audience intelligence and campaign workflow features to “create customized images in minutes, define, activate and measure the impact.”

Omnicom, among the most valuable advertising holding companies on Earth, has been pouring investment into the Omni platform. On Monday, it unveiled its latest iteration of the platform, Omni 3.0, at Cannes Lions. The upgrade includes improvements to Omni Assist, the company’s proprietary generative AI tool, and also includes the newly-unveiled Omni Commerce platform.

Interestingly, Omni Assist was born in part out of a partnership with Google’s AI rival Microsoft, which the company said allowed it “first-mover enterprise access” to its OpenAI platforms integrated in the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services platform.

“We’re embracing generative AI as quickly as possible to enhance the capabilities of our best and brightest people, and deliver better outcomes for our clients,” Wren said at the time of the announcement.

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Outside of its burgeoning AI capabilities, the Omni platform is also being strengthened with a growing roster of clients and partners. For example, announced this week in Cannes is a new partnership between Omnicom Media Group and Uber Advertising that will center on data capabilities and will allow the advertising group to tap into Uber’s delivery and mobility data to serve its clients’ ads. The two organizations had reportedly been quietly testing a collaboration in the months leading up to the announcement, with Omnicom client HBO Max dipping its toes in the water with a sponsored Lizzo concert hosted via the Uber app.

Despite having worked with Microsoft on AI in the past, the Google Cloud team expressed its support for the new partnership. “At Google Cloud, we are committed to bringing the power of our transformational foundation models to people with all levels of technical experience so that everyone has an opportunity to innovate in entirely new ways,“ said June Yang, vice-president of cloud AI and industry solutions at Google Cloud, in a statement. “Our partnership with Omnicom deepens this commitment as it allows marketers to create studio-grade images with mask-free editing for any business need, in a platform where they are already familiar, with only a few typing prompts. We cannot wait to see what they create!”

The agreement builds on existing work that Google and Omnicom have done together. Omnicom was, for instance, an early partner to Google’s clean room Ads Data Hub.

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