ReFUEL4: The Future of Creativity is Math

The Future of Creativity Is Math

BBH founder Sir John Hegarty has often spoken (semi-controversially) against a data-driven approach to advertising, arguing that data creates nothing because he’s spent his whole life “dealing with people who’ve got all the data in the world yet they can’t invent anything”.


While we agree that data shouldn’t be the sole driver of creative decisions, we know that it plays an important role in today’s advertising landscape. However, collecting a vast amount of data doesn’t do much if it isn’t translated into actionable insights. Only through these insights do advertisers reach the right people, in the right place and at the right time.


The implementation of big data in marketing has proven to increase ROI by 10 to 20%. In a KPMG survey, 97% of organizations are already using data and analytics in some area of their business. More than 9 out of 10 say they use data for sales and marketing purposes. Their greatest motivation are improving productivity, generating sales growth and reducing costs.


Data-centric advertising doesn’t mean the death of creativity


As WPP head Sir Martin Sorrell has aptly declared – we’re not in the advertising business anymore. At least not in the traditional way that is understood by the likes of Don Draper and Hegarty. It’s not a matter of data or creative leading the process but having both work together in a collaborative union. Think of it as data empowering creative to be a better, higher performing version of itself.


Data makes creative more intelligent


With technology and data, we now have unparalleled access to consumer insights. Designers are able to better understand the target consumers they are designing for, which helps guide their creative decisions from the start.


ReFUEL4’s proprietary AI-backed predictive performance analysis takes it a step further by allowing advertisers to know which creatives will likely perform even before they run live in ad campaigns.


Relevant creative in real time


Digitally savvy consumers are now more discerning when it comes to advertising. They expect it to be highly engaging and relevant across multiple devices. And with the average human attention span now shorter than a goldfish’s, advertisers have only 1 chance (and 8 seconds) to make a good and lasting impression on consumers.


Using data insights to inform creative, marketers are able to react in real time. Tigerair achieved a return on ad spend of 8725% by using the world’s first automatic creative refresh platform. Using real time insights, underperforming creatives are automatically swapped with new ones and designers are automatically prompted to create new ads.


Mad Men meets Math Men


Gone are the days when the advertisers had control over the conversation. It’s the consumers who now tell marketers what they want and savvy marketers look for ways to listen, using insights from data.


The successful creative person needs to wear the hats of both Don Draper and a digitally savvy version of Harry Crane. Media and creative departments should be in sync right from the beginning, building each element of the campaign with data fueling the creative process. Sufficient design variations must be created to allow for A/B testing. Predictive performance analytics inform creative selection and real time insights enable campaigns to be optimized as they run.


Add automation to the process, train future designers to also be data geeks and the future of advertising looks pretty glorious.


Alexis Ng

ReFUEL4's digital and content marketer who loves the ocean, yoga and constellations. Watches too much TV.