This week I attended an event called “I’ll Be Back – Creative, Ads & AI” run by a couple of smart guys (and ex-colleagues/friends) called Tom Ollerton and Alex Hobhouse.

I’ll Be Back is a monthly meetup for people who are interested in the impact of artificial intelligence on the creative process in the ad industry.

Each month they have four guest speakers from brands, Start Ups, agencies and academia to share their perspective on creative AI.

This event was kindly hosted by iCrossing London who generously supplied booze and pizza.  Also there were some lovely cakes from event sponsors called Butter Believe It.

They were 4 great speakers including Ian Thomas (Former Senior Director, Marketing Data & Analytics / Microsoft), Kurtis Morrison (VP Client Services /, Tero Parviainen (Design Toolsmith /, Robert Van Den Bergh (MD / and Phil Robinson / Creative Director /

I really enjoyed Ian Thomas’s presentation who had recently returned from The States where he had been working for Microsoft.  I loved this slide which perfectly illustrated how the world of marketing was changing due to the growing influence of AI.

Ian summarised Microsoft’s AI had changed their approach to marketing as follows:

  • Humans plus machines, not vs machines
    • AI was a tool to be used by marketers, not a tool to replace marketers
  • Focus on outcomes, not actions
    • Iterate your way to where you want to go and don’t change your KPIs during or after any activity.
  • Treat everything as an experiment
    • Test and learn, failure is not always bad
  • Set guardrails
    • Agree parameters and stick to them
  • Use data to generate new ideas
    • Use data to help provide creative inspiration
  • Build deep Marketing / Data Science partnership
    • Have joined up approach with these two disciplines

This was a great event packed for full insight and superb examples of AI innovation.

I will definitely be back to the next session of “I’ll Be Back!”.

Good work guys!

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