Consumer Trust Declining, Advertisers Must Look Beyond Data Alone
In an interesting interview posted in advance of Cannes, Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of WPP, elaborated on the “Mad Men vs. Math Men” dynamic affecting the field of advertising today. Asked directly “What is the role of creativity in the increasingly data-driven advertising industry,” Sorrell said something interesting:
“There’s about three quarters of our business in digital media planning and buying and data – so of our 18 billion projected, 19 billion in revenues for this year, three quarters of it is stuff that Don Draper in the ’60s wouldn’t have known.”
“So this balance of ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Math Men,’ art and science, left brain, right brain, is really very important.”
But with roughly $12-14 billion of WPP’s projected $17-18 billion in 2014 revenue coming from data-driven advertising alone, the question doesn’t seem to be what individual pieces Don Draper would or wouldn’t know – but whether he would recognize today’s advertising at all.
Art + Copy + Data
There is absolutely no doubt that the availability and application of more data to advertising has benefited the industry. Beyond that, there is a compelling case to be made that data-driven advertising represents a major win for the consumer, too. All other considerations aside, we do receive more personalized, relevant ads than ever before.
Yet other data – the data by which we measure, not create, campaigns – paints a more complicated picture. Brand loyalty and trust among consumers is declining. There are many reasons for this – including, ironically, the same connected nature of 21st century consumerism that enables data-driven advertising in the first place.
The $12-14 billion gorilla in the room isn’t so-called Big Data. The real gorilla in the room is that no matter how sophisticated the algorithms, no matter how many custom reports, analytics platforms or databases involved, great data alone does not guarantee great advertising. Period.
Data without insight is meaningless. And in the world of advertising, building an ad on insight alone – without thoughtful, creative execution – is like throwing spaghetti at the wall. Some might stick. Most won’t.
Sir Martin Sorrell is right:
“This balance … is really very important.”
Together, brands and agencies must strive for creative data-driven advertising and marketing solutions that are both relevant and engaging to the consumer as an individual.
Dan Treul is Digital Strategist at Branch Creative Network, a full-service digital agency and subsidiary of Jackson Dawson Communications, headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.