Former McCann Asia strategy chief Dave McCaughan joins ex Y&R Australia boss Jason Buckley to launch AI agency

Dave McCaughan, the former Asia head of strategy for McCann, has teamed up with Mark Collis, the former group ECD of Ogilvy & Mather Tokyo, and Jason Buckley, the former CEO of Y&R ANZ and APAC CFO of Leo Burnett, as part of the launch team for an agency that specialises in blending artificial intelligence with creative.

Dave McCaughan at Mumbrella360

Dave McCaughan presenting at Mumbrella360

The new firm, called, which will allow companies to sidestep traditional research, which the trio argue is plagued by long lead times and fails to capture the art of storytelling.

Speaking with Mumbrella Australia, Buckley confirmed the launch and said that the new agency would align digital with narrative.

Jason Buckley

Jason Buckley

“We have been talking about big data and leveraging data for a long time, but there is so much noise,” Buckley said.

The former CEO of the WPP agency said would be a quiet launch, but the agency has already recruited some big names in Buckley and McCaughan.

The agency will have a presence in Sydney, Bangkok, Tokyo and Dallas, and other founding staff include Troy Miller as US lead and global technologist and Jason T. Ayers as business development and recruitment leader.

ai.agencyThe agency describes itself as: “A new type of agency that marries creativity with hyper-advanced artificial intelligence to discover, define and create the most engaging narratives for any brand or issue”.

“By employing advanced artificial intelligence technology we can help you uncover the most powerful narratives for your brand, delivering real commercial advantage.

“Our platform combs the entire web, blogs, press, forums, traditional and social media. We then define the narratives into which ones you should ignore, who and when and where they’re happening, and which are the narratives that will deliver tangible, measurable outcomes.”

Buckley said he expected the merging of data and storytelling to be the next phase of advertising.

“AI is the next wave,” he said. “With the pressure of price and time it is a very efficient way of getting insights into data and into our world.”


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