The Brandtech Group acquires generative AI ad platform Pencil

New York-based marketing technology (mar-tech) company The Brandtech Group announced on Thursday that it has acquired Pencil, a generative AI advertising platform. The duo didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Founded in 2018 by Will Hanschell and Sumukh Avadhani, Pencil is built on Open AI’s GPT family of large language models, and aims to help marketers create ‘’winning’’ ad creatives ten times faster thanks to the artificial intelligence technology. Since its founding, the company has formed various partnerships with well-known brands like Adobe, Meta, Shopify, and OpenAI.

In addition to the acquisition, the duo also announced the launch of their new enterprise-level generative AI product ‘Pencil Pro’, naming Unilever and Bayer as their launch partners. 

The new product, which the companies have been working on over the last six months, comes with AI integrations such as OpenAI GPT-4 and ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion and Runway, in addition to media integrations including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Display and Amazon Ads.

Commenting on the acquisition, The Brandtech Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer David Jones said: “Pencil is easily the most significant company in the generative AI marketing space. While lots of people are talking in the future tense about what they will build or might do, or announcing made-for-PR partnerships, Pencil is the only company in the world to have already used more than $1BN of actual media dollars across 4,000 brands since 2018, building unparalleled data, insight, and learnings around Gen AI for marketing at a global scale. Like generative AI itself, what Will and Sumukh have built is truly remarkable, and we’re thrilled that they are joining the group.’’

Pencil’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Will Hanschell said: “David and I first met several years ago, and we connected around a belief – which few held at the time – that AI and machine learning would totally disrupt marketing. Not many people thought that when we launched back in 2018, so we’ve been able to get a big head-start in the space and have invaluable learnings from the $1BN of brand spend. It’s great to be joining a group that is equally obsessed with technology and how it can disrupt marketing.

The news comes around a week after The Brandtech Group closed the acquisition of Jellyfish, a US-based digital media and marketing group, for an undisclosed amount.

Written by Maya Robertson


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