Xaxis launches creative hub to ‘push envelope’ on new digital ad formats

CEO says creative and media ‘will and should’ be brought back together.

Xaxis, Group M’s programmatic arm, is launching a creative hub to help brands integrate creative assets into data-driven online campaigns.

Xaxis Creative Studios will work with creative and media agencies and be staffed by designers and interactive developers, led by Colombia-based Juan Moronvelez, who is global project lead and Latin America chief executive.

XCS will make creative assets that work with Xaxis’ artificial intelligence-powered planning and optimisation capabilities. The aim is to maximise the impact of a campaign’s creative idea and make it more efficient and effective.

Nicolas Bidon, Xaxis global chief executive, told Campaign that the WPP network is aiming to address a gap in the market in fusing creative and media for digital ads. Xaxis is moving into what he calls a “phase of last-mile creative”.

He said: “I think we’re getting to the point where we’ve maxed out the optimisation potential of the other dimensions… We have the big creative ideas that typically are done by creative agencies and then we get some sort of [production] asset, and then there are all these new channels like connected TV, Snapchat, Tiktok, where audiences are – and there’s a gap.”

XCS will work with agencies to reimagine and reassemble existing assets into new formats and optimising them early in the creative process according to the target audience and the media format, such as display, interactive videos, conversational ads and shoppable media. It has trialled projects with clients including Ford, Toyota and Ikea.

Bidon explained: “We get types of all the available creative assets, which may be brand images, images of cars, whatever else, and then the team syncs up with the Xaxis creators and strategists, who plan the audience strategy and are clear on what is the particular outcome we’re trying to drive for that client.

“And, based on that, we produce a set of creatives that we feel are going to be the most appropriate to drive that particular outcome. And, to do so at scale, we use a lot of automation and dynamic creative technology.”