Hey Alli, I'm Still Waiting For Your Answer

You don't need a large language model to know when you're being spun by a PR person who has already broken his or her news somewhere else. All you need is a human who can type a query into Google News.

Word of advice to any PR folks out there: it's the first thing I do anytime I get a pitch.

That's what happened this morning when a PR and communications consultant pitched MediaPost's editors on a story about tech-savvy agency PMG launching a new generative AI platform named "Ask Alli."

Alli, of course, is PMG's bespoke tech stack, so it shouldn't be surprising that the agency would launch a generative AI chatbot named after it.

The question is -- why now?

While I didn't get a reply from PMG, much less Alli, I think the answer is clear: The gold rush is on and you'll be hearing about all sorts of new-and-improved bespoke agency chatbots.



In fact, PMG's announcement this morning comes a week after MediaPost broke the news that IPG Mediabrands' Kinesso unit is launching a new agency chatbot that I coined "ChatIPG."

And while I'm sure PMG's "Ask Alli" has some nifty nuances to it, it's getting hard for agencies to claim any industry firsts on the generative AI front.

I'm guessing PMG's "Ask Alli" is a re-skinning of some version of OpenAI's ChatGPT, because the agency previously announced a deal to develop new generative AI applications with it back in April.

And although many agencies are claiming their AI chat bragging rights these days, I'd like to remind readers that Dumbo-based Interpublic agency Huge was probably the first.

It was called Dakota, and Huge launched it in 2016, long before ChatGPT was more than a gleam in the eye of OpenAI's startup founders.

In fact, MediaPost named Huge one of agencies of the year based on its first-mover jump into the AI chatbot field.

In the years since, I have covered a bunch of important agency AI innovations, including Omnicom's Omni and its Sparks & Honey unit's Q -- most of which were based on homegrown development.

It's hard to know exactly what PMG's "Ask Alli" is based on, because other than the canned quotes and platitudes in the press release I received, I wasn't able to get any answers to my questions. Not from the agency's PR person, or from Alli herself.

By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if PMG eventually has to rebrand "Ask Alli," because when I conducted my Google News query, I discovered it's actually the name of a popular feature on the "Bob & Tom Show."

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