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Omnicom and Google’s generative AI partnership will light a fire under the ad industry

The news: Omnicom Group, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, announced at Cannes Lions that it’s integrating Google’s generative AI tools into its ad tech system, “Omni,” in what it’s calling the first commercial use of Google’s AI technology.

  • Specifically, Omnicom is working with two Google AI models: image generator Imagen and large language model PaLM 2.

All systems go: AI had an initially slow adoption in the ad industry over several legal concerns, but now that fear is being pushed aside. Omnicom’s announcement follows another major advertising group’s AI partnership and will pressure the industry to adopt the tech sooner than later.

  • Last month, WPP and Nvidia announced a landmark partnership that would give agencies access to powerful creative AI tools to create advertising material at significant scale. In an announcement, the companies called it “the next evolution of the $700 billion digital advertising industry.”
  • But AI has been top of mind for nearly a year now—why didn’t that evolution happen sooner? The answer is copyright. Generative AI companies were hit with repeated lawsuits alleging that their models were trained on copyrighted material, raising questions about liability for any brand that uses their services.
  • But both WPP and Omnicom have made it a point to clarify that their tech partners train their AI on copyright-free material—a signal to agencies that they can hop aboard the train scot-free.

Our take: Google and Meta bothannounced generative AI advertising tools earlier this year that suggested widespread adoption was ahead. Now, with industry leaders like Omnicom and WPP in their corner, the rest of the industry will feel pressured to begin integrating AI or risk being left behind.