CANNES – The OMD Oasis, an annual fixture at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, doesn’t lack things to do and see. But its core mission is to make things simple for marketers at a time when creativity and technology are always intersecting.

At the same time, the personal ambition of OMD Worldwide’s CEO, Mainardo de Nardis, during the festival is to learn new experiences and meet people. “I make a list throughout the year of all the people who I actually want to meet here,” de Nardis says in this interview with Beet.TV in which he opines that data has become so commonplace that people “should stop talking about it.”

He recalls an important client telling OMD that the Oasis is the only place one needs to be at Cannes “because everything happens there,” whether it’s new initiatives, presentations or live video streams from the Palais des Festivals.

“I’m very passionate about the OMD Oasis here at Cannes because I think it’s a great program. It’s a place where our clients, our friends, our colleagues, our prospects want to spend time and therefore it’s important to us,” de Nardis says.

With creativity and technology constantly colliding, “It’s extremely complex for our clients,” he adds. “They want us to pull down the walls and make it easy for them,” a process that includes not adding the agency’s own complication “to the complication of the marketplace.”

Even with the influx of digital and tech partners at Cannes over the past decade, it’s important to remember that at the end of every marketing connection point there is a human being. “Whatever techniques and data and support we use to get there, it’s about the story that person will engage with,” says de Nardis.

Data has become so important “we should stop talking about it,” he adds. “It’s not about the data. It’s about the insights, the understandings, the learnings that the data allows us to extract in order to do things in a different, more precise way.”

Likewise, the role of an agency is no different than it was three decades ago, according to de Nardis. “It’s just that the means that we have available today is what we’ve been dreaming all our life and now we finally have it.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s Coverage of Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.