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The Drum’s Daily Briefing: Google invests in AI chips & THG uses AI to revive fortunes


By Gordon Young, Editor-in-Chief

April 11, 2024 | 5 min read

Our quickfire analysis of the brand, marketing and media stories that might just crop up in your meetings, brought to you today by editor-in-chief Gordon Young.

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Meta and Google are investing in AI processors

Meta and Google invest in AI processors

Meta has followed Google in launching a new AI chip to break its reliance on Nvidia. They have announced a new generation accelerator chip, which will power the company’s content and ad targetting algorithms. The news follows Google’s unveiling of a new alternative to Nvidia’s in-demand chip. Both companies continue to be huge buyers of Nvidia technology, which has risen to a valuation of $2tn as demand for its processors rockets.

Source: Reuters

Questions asked over practicality of UK teenage phone ban plans

UK Government proposals to ban smartphones for under 16 may be impractical as the new law will still allow parents to buy them on their children’s behalf.

This has led some to call for a ban on their possession for those under 16s - which may open up a Pandora’s box of complications around verifying IDs, privacy and freedom of expression.

Others, however, say the legislation is gesture politics, which will do little to reduce children’s exposure to harmful sites as they will still have access to computers and it will be hard to police what goes on in their own homes.

Source: ​The Mirror

M&C profits dip as South African division announces MBO

M&C Saatchi has reported an 87% drop in profits after the advertising agency was hit by a slowdown in ­spending by clients.

The London-listed company posted a pre-tax profit of £700,000 in 2023, down from £5.4m the previous year. Advertising sales dropped by 8%. It claimed its tech clients, including Google, were particularly affected by the downturn.

Meanwhile, M&C Saatchi, its South African company, will be acquiring the shares owned by the PLC to form an independent group comprising Connect, Levergy, Razor, Dalmatian and Black & White, as well as M&C Saatchi Abel.

Once completed, not only will this make those South African entities entirely locally owned, it will also position the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa as the biggest independent agency in the country. It will remain an affiliate of the global network following the MBO.

Source: The Times and Business Live

Iranian Blind Date goes dark

An Iranian online version of Blind Date has been taken off air by censors as its Instagram page was blocked by order of ‘the honorable judicial authority.’

It is thought the show, which closely followed a UK format and was presented by influencer Viny, was proving too provocative. One episode showed a woman challenging the view that men are superior to women.

Dating can be difficult in the country under strict Islamic laws. A 2022 study found half of its population of 86 million were under the age of 35 and nearly 68% of them were single.

Source: The Telegraph

Rishi apologizes for Adidas Samba debacle

Rishi Sunak has issued an apology to Adidas Samba for rendering this year’s coolest trainer uncool after the UK prime minister was pictured wearing them in Downing Street. He told LBC Radio: “I offer a fulsome apology to the Samba community and, as ever, remain kind of intrigued and amused by the amount of focus on what I’m wearing.”

Source: LBC

THG uses AI to revive fortunes

THG, the online beauty and nutrition business that includes brands such as Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic and Myprotein has used AI and a huge ‘automation rollout’ to cut its workforce by almost a third.

The company, which has struggled since its £4.5bn float in 2020, has cut 3,000 jobs from its 10,000 workforce in a bid to address a lackluster performance that saw its value fall by 90%. Founder Matt Moulding said on LinkedIn: “We have 3,000 fewer staff, with the majority of the reduction due to a huge automation rollout. Sadly, not every leaver was the result of natural attrition, but most were.” The staff savings amounted to £125m.

Source: The Times

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