How data is transforming the depth of creativity in advertising.

July 4, 2021 at 12:44 PM

Magna forecasts overall global media advertising spend will grow by $78 Billion (+14%) to $657 Billion in 2021 – the all-time highest spend.

The only reason why advertising is still thriving is because it has evolved and adapted to the changes in the media consumption habits of people. The success of advertising depends predominantly on two key factors: creativity and targeting. The right balance between these two factors became more important with the dawn of the digital era, as the results of advertising can now be measured in real-time in most instances.

To understand how the depth of creativity in advertising has transformed over time, with data and tech integration, let’s take a look at the work that is being highlighted at major advertising award festivals.

One of the key highlights from this year’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Pharma was “Sick Beats” by Woojer – the world’s first music-powered airway clearance vest for kids with cystic fibrosis.

While it is debatable whether this falls within the realm of advertising, the use of data and tech integration to provide a solution that would change the world of children suffering from cystic fibrosis is a great achievement.

Using Spotify – a game-changer in data-oriented music and a tech enabler for data-driven advertising – the health advertising agency AREA 23 crafted the idea of connecting kids to 40Hz music by creating a therapeutic playlist for the vest through the Spotify app, thus transforming the clinical experience for children who suffer from cystic fibrosis.

The Grand Prix in the Creative Data category at this year’s Cannes Lions went to a campaign by Rothco and Warner Music – Saylists.

Rothco – part of Accenture Interactive Dublin – came up with this Grand Prix idea to provide a simple solution for a speech disorder that affects thousands of children across the world by offering therapy through music – just like the previous idea, but in a totally different way.

The third idea from this year’s Cannes Lions – “The Laugh Tracker” by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development created by VMLY&R Kansas City – won a Gold in the same category of Creative Data Lions.

In my opinion, this is a brilliant piece of work that has the power to absolutely change the way parents plan their vacations.

By tracking children’s laughter through a wearable device (with the use of GPS and AI), then converting that data into a simple rating scale, parents are offered a more realistic picture of destinations which will ensure a vacation that their own kids will thoroughly enjoy.

The fourth creative piece is from Cannes Lions 2017 – “Meet Graham” by the Transport Accident Commission in Australia – created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne.

The objective was to raise awareness among the public on road safety without considering unsuccessful shock advertising, to encourage the public to change their behavior. Using decades of road safety data and medical research, they created a ‘human’ body that could survive a low impact crash. The ultimate objective was to promote safe driving.

The fifth idea is “The Next Rembrandt” by Dutch multinational banking group ING, created by Wunderman Thompson.

The beauty of the idea is creating the next masterpiece of Rembrandt, 347 years after his death, by connecting data, machine learning, and technology.

These five pieces of work are just a sneak peek of how the world of creativity is transforming, while the role of a creative director is also transforming into a data-driven creative director.



By Seninda Bandara Managing Director | Boutique Agency Network

Seninda Bandara is an entrepreneur, a connoisseur of digital transformation, strategy and an IMC consultant with over 14 years of practice-makes-perfect bridging brilliantly local to inherently global in the ever-evolving world of advertising. An avid educator and cultural changemaker, Seninda is an exciting hybrid every aspiring, young South Asian creative can take notes from – for adding credibility, depth and international success to a career that is often misunderstood as ‘just a bit of fun’.