CANNES — After a few years in which the advertising industry has talked plenty about targeting, precision and data, many executives used last week’s Cannes Lions to talk about rebalancing the narrative with a nod back to creativity.

But the two hemispheres of the industry don’t have to be divorced from each other, says one leading agency exec. MediaCom’s US CEO thinks data can now help to power ever-more creative advertising.

“Data is the new business fuel, data allow you to design new creative,” Sasha Savic says, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “Data will change creative to be more precise and to be more relevant.”

In 2017, we have heard plenty from advertising executives – even many in the data vendor community – who want to talk more about creative enablement. Savic is on board with that – but he doesn’t see enough chat from peers.

“There is reluctance from traditional big agencies to embrace data as the fuel for creativity,” Savic claims.

The industry is now entering a next phase in which artificial intelligence and machine learning are promising to even better target consumers. For MediaCom, Savic says AI “surprises us every day with new opportunities that we didn’t dream about yesterday”.

And, whilst it will be possible for algorithms to mine consumer records to form a better understanding of them than perhaps they even have of themselves, Savic thinks privacy concerns won’t be as big a deal for audiences, if the campaign hits the right note.

He cites an example last year in which Coke wanted to show a bottle bearing viewers’ first name at the end of TV commercials – something which required both viewer data and viewer permission. ‘Eighty percent of people said ‘yeah, do it’,” Savic adds.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business. For more from the series, please visit this page.