People don’t like data. A corpulent upper-crust Dutch gentleman was recently betrayed by a Fitbit smart scale. When his featherweight mistress stepped on it, the device sent his wife a convenient push message: ‘Congrats, you now weigh 48 kilos!’ On a larger scale – pun intended – Zuckerberg can now track, shape and censure two billion people. We fear that data will encroach upon our privacy, and it’s no different in the creative industry. Until very recently, one of the walls in our office had ‘Smile, we are not in brain surgery’ written on it. We were proud of the fact that we didn’t work in accountancy, but spent our days in the wondrous world of intuition and magic.
Even so, we’ve been doing our jobs with the benefits of data for more that 50 years. Demographic and psychographic data has allowed us to achieve precise segmentations like: working women, thirtysomething, wealth segment A/B1, interested in health and appearance, residing within 10 km of our offices. There was always, however, one caveat: we never knew who was going to make a purchase, and who wasn’t. Today’s behavioural data does allow us to predict purchase behaviour. And no, that isn’t at odds with creativity. If you want to open a shop, you’ll look into where the demand lies, into suitable locations, into the passers-by on the street and how to reach them in an affordable way. Creative campaigns are no different – what makes them tick, what generates the most exposure and therefore the best revenue? Data experts may like to cloak their craft in techno-jargon, but it isn’t rocket science or brain surgery.
In other words: we have every reason to be nice to data! And speaking of SIRE’s #DOESLIEF (#BENICE), the Dutch public-service campaign focusing on civic respect: wouldn’t this excellent campaign be made even better through the use of data? If Google, YouTube and Facebook can use their algorithms to counteract hate speech and terrorism, then is it too much to ask that they also scrape their content for SIRE? If you google Semtex or IED, you could immediately be served up a relevant #DOESLIEF message. And if your behaviour is really exemplary, you might even get to join SIRE’s Lucy van der Helm on the Effie stage.