CANNES — Digital data, and the ability to harness it to better target advertising messages, is one of the greatest transformational forces in marketing.

But the zeal with which executives are embracing the transformation reads like a menu of enthusiasm.

Slavi Samardzija, global CEO of Annalect, the New York-based data analytics consulting and technology company for marketers, says: “I think the industry is divided on the three tracks or three groups:”

  • Data refuseniks: “I’m not going to name the agencies, they know who they … some big, big creative thinkers ignore the data, and they’ll say, ‘Oh this data is bad, it has a bad influence on the creativity’. They are very public and very loud about the topic at the moment.”
  • Data obsessives: “There’s a school of thought of, ‘The world is going to be run by data, and the data and the artificial intelligence is going to give us all the answers, you don’t need the creatives’.”
  • Half-way housers: “The third is in the middle … saying, ‘Well, it’s really how the two work together’.”

Samardzija knows which camp he agrees with. “That (third one) is the one that is easiest to agree with,” he says.

“The challenge is that nobody has figured out what does that mean. So most people get up there and say, ‘No, no, no, it’s not about data, it’s not about creativity, it’s how they work together’. That clearly sounds good, but in practice, nobody has figured that out.”


This video was produced at the OMD Oasis at Cannes Lions 2016 as part of  the Future of TV Advertising Leadership Forum, a series presented by true[Xand hosted by OMD Worldwide.  Please visit this page for additional segments.