It’s been over 20 years since Nick Farnhill and Iain Tait co-founded Poke (along with Nicolas Roope, Tom Hostler and Peter Beech) against the backdrop of a rapidly changing internet age. Two decades on, our fascination with the burgeoning world of Web3 – and with it emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, AR/VR, and the metaverse – feels markedly similar to the digital agency’s early days.
“Just as ill-informed petfood.coms, virtual ISPs and the portalisation of everything gave way to Facebook, the iPhone and total digital carnage across most industries, overpriced monkey illustrations, boring fashion shows in Minecraft, and AR-sunglasses will be superseded by more profound, fundamental changes,” Tait predicts, as he reflects on the parallels between then and now.
A large of part of both Farnhill and Tait’s careers have been spent helping brands navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. Farnhill joined Publicis Worldwide when Poke was acquired by the French network in 2014, before becoming CEO and overseeing the merger of its four UK businesses as integrated agency Publicis•Poke in 2019. For Tait, there have been two stints at Wieden + Kennedy – one in Portland as global interactive ECD and another running the agency’s London office. In between those, he was ECD at Google Creative Lab in New York, where he was part of the team that launched the Chromebook globally.