Many digital agencies have worked on AI-helmed creatives for campaigns of companies like Baskin Robbins, Oreo, and Burger King. While AI-led campaigns have brought in more eyeballs, thus more business, for Indian digital advertising agencies, a few agencies have been keeping a watchful eye on the growth in AI for a while now.
For Tonic Worldwide, a digital agency turning 16 this year, AI has been on the radar before the emergence of new tools. Chetan Asher, founder and CEO, Tonic Worldwide, shares with afaqs! that from its outset, the agency’s priority has been to distance itself from the ‘execution agency’ stereotype that has dogged digital agencies over the years.
For this, they have been working on imbibing the ability to spot trends and disseminate work around them quickly in their DNA. “Our AI+HI research arm, Gipsi, has been instrumental for us to move away from the perception of being just an ‘execution only’ agency. While AI is the talk of the town now, we have been able to gauge the use of AI tools to mine data and then groom human intelligence to bring forth actionable insights on it,” he says.
Asher attributes this understanding of AI to the agency’s work outside of India. He set up the agency with Samir Asher, co-founder & COO, Tonic Worldwide back in India in 2007. “At that time, the digital space was at a very nascent stage in India,” he observes. Tonic then focused its operations on the UAE market and worked with clients such as Al Futtaim, Al Maya, and Apparel Group, amongst others in UAE.
The company’s tech business is driven by brands’ need to revamp the front end of their digital business. UI/UX services focusing on conversion rate optimisation, and analytics, are also key drivers for its tech business
Tonic’s divisions include Yellow Labs, which delves into emerging technologies like AR filters and interactive videos, Tonic Worldwide Intuitive Programming (TWIP), focusing on personalised, data-driven brand stories, and Gipsi whose role has been instrumental in, driving significant business growth with campaigns for clients like L’Oreal India and Parachute Advansed Baby.
Asher shares that the company’s Gipsi-driven work has substantially boosted their business, as they were able to rope in L’Oreal India, Parachute Advansed Baby, Bajaj Finance Ltd., and Brita India this year. The agency is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32% year-on-year, paralleled by a 20% increase in employee strength.
The experimentation with AI has also led to several debates about its efficacy as well. While some see AI as a valuable tool for guiding strategies and enhancing campaigns, others deem it to be fragile in its analysis of sentiments. Asher ascertains that a combination of AI tools with human intelligence is paramount to drive efficient results.