While Big Data is the buzzword du jour and every agency and brand is trying to get a handle on it, there are still those who believe the big idea will always trump the “biggest” data.
Amusement Park’s Jimmy Smith who is a Branded Entertainment Juror for the Clios is one such person. Recalling what Lee Clow told him about Steve Jobs, Smith argues one of the biggest and most successful brands in the world never much relied on research to develop its ad campaigns.
Smith also argues the skills it takes to come up with a successful big idea can’t and never will be able to be quantified. Coming from a man who will judge Clios, this makes perfect sense. After all, the Clios, Cannes and most other advertising awards organizations don’t for the most part, award on whether or not an ad was successful; they judge it based upon whether or not it was creative…many times for creative’s sake.
Now we’re not bashing the Clios or Cannes or any other form of advertising awards because, for the most part, we agree with Smith. The availability and prevalence of data has made it very easy to test everything to death and distrust our gut. In a sense, it’s killing creativity because when so many parameters are placed on the marketing and creative process, it becomes very difficult to, well, be creative.
Now one can also argue “being creative” is a waste of time and money when we have all this data to tell us what works and what doesn’t. But data has never been good at representing subjectivity and that’s exactly what creative is; a subjective representation of an idea that aims to connect with an audience.
I think big data and the big idea can live side by side. But I also think we rely on data far too much and to the point wehere we allow it to trump our gut. Big data can support our gut but we should never allow it to control it.