Using data to inform consumer advertising targeting decisions without breakthrough creative is a waste of time, but bringing the two together is “pure magic,” according to the managing director of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud.

Mark Zagorski is about to find out just how magical data-driven creative can be, as he’s been selected to be a Creative Data Lions judge at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity later this month in France.

“What I think is really amazing about the concept is the fact that there’s always been a lot of talk about data and creative has almost been left out of the equation,” Zagorski says in an interview with Beet.TV. “But all of that without awesome creative with it is a waste. Bringing the two together is really magic.”

Zagorski launched the U.S. operations of data-management platform eXelate in 2008 and led the sale of the company to Nielsen Company last year. eXelate is now a key component of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud, along with the Nielsen Media Impact tool (in partnership with Pointlogic) and buyer insights from, among others, Nielsen Catalina and J.D. Power and Associates.

Driving efficiency for marketing campaigns has never been more important, according to Zagorski.

“Not only is the data there now, but spend is so fragmented that understanding what is working and where I spend my money is crucial to any marketer,” he says. “Whether you’re pushing top or bottom of the funnel, there always needs to be an ROI on that.”

For the balance of 2016, Nielsen will be rolling out its Marketing Cloud in markets like France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Western Europe. It wants the industry to know that while more Nielsen solutions will be populating its cloud-based services, the company also will be pulling in third-party features.

“Just like your iPhone has owned apps and third-party apps, we’re doing the same thing,” Zagorski says.

As for his stint as a Cannes judge, Zagorski quips “I never thought I’d get to be a judge without going to law school.”

This interview is part of our series “The Road to Cannes”, presented by FreeWheel. Please visit this page for additional segments.