Is creativity under threat from marketing’s increasing obsession with data?

From the rise and rise of programmatic buying to marketers' increasing focus on performance data and analytics, marketing is undeniably becoming a numbers game.

But what does the inexorable rise of the industry's Maths Men (to quote advertising's preeminent number cruncher Sir Martin Sorrell) mean for its Mad Men and women?

Can creativity still thrive in a data-driven marketing world, or are those bursts of spontaneous creative inspiration now under threat?

At the Dadi Awards, we put that question to a mix of creatives and agency heads to see how they are managing the relationship between data and creativity.

Most disputed the notion that the advertising and marketing industries would become formulaic because of data.

Russ Lidstone, chief executive of Havas Worldwide London, said: "If it was a science we'd all be millionaires, because we'd be able to work out what the secret formula is.

"Creativity is about the defeat of habit through originality – and those things are not necessarily always going to come through the analysis of data."

But Reading Room's UK CEO David Burgess told us "the definition of creativity has to change" to better represent what marketing agencies do today.

You can hear more from Lidstone and Burgess, as well as Ogilvy's Nicole Yershon, BMB's Owen Farrington and Marc Lewis from the School of Communication Arts by watching our film above.

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