Creativity in the time of Big Data


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Talk given to Miami Ad School, Europe students on 15th August, 2013. By Simon Law, CSO at Fabric.
The embedded notes in the ppt aren't exactly what I said, but gives you some idea of content and meaning… What I actually said was obviously smarter, wittier and generally more compellingly informative and entertaining!

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  • Worked at Goodby Silverstein, Saatchi’s and more.Before my current job, I was head of planning at TBWA in LondonAnd I’ve worked on most sectors and lots of great clients.In short, I’ve been lucky.
  • But today, I do something a little different.Which I believe may be a part of the future – both the future of planning and creative.Which is why I wanted to talk to you about the world of big data today.Building on the experiences we’ve had working with clients – but also exposing what’s lacking in the industry today.
  • But not the boring world of data analysis and business intelligence.I want to talk about how it’s going to drive a new world of creativity.Or, more to the point, how you could make this the future… I’m not going to give you all the answers, but I’m going to try to give you the input you need.And, at the end, feel free to ask questions.Broadly, I’ll talk about 3 areas…
  • Then I’ll talk about how some of this future stuff can be played out today. In the more immediate world that is facebook.
  • The main thing I want you to think at the end of this talk is “how do we do this well?”Because there’s lots of people out there doing it badly today.Not even intentionally – it’s just that the work being done using these capabilities hasn’t yet matured to a level where we’re seeing more than a few brands do something great.
  • And I truly believe that all advertising needs to aspire to be great.It needs to be something we admire and not something we desperately try to ignore.Which is why I love the recent exhibition that Leo Burnett put together.
  • And I believe in this pronouncement of the future.I won’t comment on whether a Publicis/Omnicom merger is the answer, though!
  • So, let’s start with Big Data…
  • Firstly, the amount of data available to be ‘crunched’ has grown exponentially. First, the records of almost everything are now digital – hospitals use computers to store patient records, companies use databases for all customer records, and so on. And old data records are rapidly being converted to digital so they can be stored more easily. At the same time, we’re spewing out our own data trails… Through email, through social networks, through forums, blogs and all the myriad ways we have to express ourselves, the Internet now contains more data than we can possibly imagine. Here’s a fact: 90% of the world’s data was produced in the last 2 years. Which is more interesting the other way around - only two years ago, data scientists had just 10% of the data they have today.
  • Secondly, it’s the capability to crunch (or analyse) large sets of data, which never used to be possible. The ability to crunch this Big Data comes down to the availability of lots of computing power that can be brought to bear on large sets of data – what used to require one big computer (think IBM’s ten billion dollar SAGE computer built to process radar data in the cold war) is now possible with lots of smaller, cheaper machines, networked together – and you can rent that by the hour. So it’s suddenly affordable for businesses and universities to attack sets of data that previously were too expensive to look at.
  • Put simply, there’s never been so much data to analyse before today and there’s never been as much computing capability to process the data. When you add those things together, people can find some impressive results.
  • Note: I only showed the opening to give an intro – not the full 60 minute program!
  • “Big Divorce Data” example: American Express is able to predict an impending divorce with 80% certainty TWO years before it happens. Scarily true and it’s not based on illicit/immoral behaviour showing up on your credit card, either - it’s based on general spending patterns between a couple. Sadly, there’s no plans to use that information to give future divorcees any warning. And would it help?
  • The one almost everyone references is “Big Flu Data”. The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) used to gather flu trend information from local hospitals and clinics – they’d report into regional centres and the data would be sent to the CDC. It took roughly 2 weeks, which is a long time if you’re trying to get ahead of a genuine outbreak. This changed when engineers at Google realized that they could predict flu trends using search data – by looking out for certain words being used in searches, they could see people with flu symptoms long before the clinics and hospitals even saw the cases. In fact, they were able to give the CDC updates on a 24-hour basis, making the CDC far more able to monitor flu epidemics, ensuring breakouts are kept to a minimum and resources are focused where they’re needed most.
  • The most dramatic example is probably “Big Police Data”. In the past few years, two professors from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) have been helping the Los Angeles police force to predict likely crime zones. Sounds like Minority Report, but it’s just about trends – they saw, using historic data from the LAPD, that crime tends to spark other crimes. There’s a series of ‘aftershocks’ that happen following a crime event and they tend to be localized. Using today’s crime data, they can map out where the most likely areas are for crimes tomorrow. And it works! The LAPD use the technology to help focus officers and either catch the act or even prevent it – in the pilot alone, they saw a 26% decrease in burglary. Watch “BBC Horizon, Age of Big Data” for the full story (it’s on YouTube).
  • And, in our world, this changes what we can understand…
  • So… Search data can be used to predict the spread of flu; Crime data can be used to predict future crime; and credit card data can predict a divorce. And you can imagine how this extends to marketing data – soon, we’ll be building models that predict more than just the effectiveness of advertising. But it doesn’t stop there. The most obvious applications are in understanding the audience better. It’s more a world for planners, but you can imagine the new trails of information that will open up as Big Data comes to bear on marketing data. A world of new insights and new opportunities – all identified by analyzing the massive trove of data that already exists in every business and the trails around it. It’s a paradise for planners, replete with actual consumer behavior and whole sets of data that have never before been open to them. Hopefully, as creatives, you’ll start to see these new opportunities and insights filtering through as briefs and briefing discussions very soon.
  • These examples are Fabric work – I’ll happily talk about them in abstract at a live event, but won’t write them up and broadcast them on the web!
  • These examples are Fabric work – I’ll happily talk about them in abstract at a live event, but won’t write them up and broadcast them on the web!
  • These examples are Fabric work – I’ll happily talk about them in abstract at a live event, but won’t write them up and broadcast them on the web!
  • These examples are Fabric work – I’ll happily talk about them in abstract at a live event, but won’t write them up and broadcast them on the web!
  • Won a Crystal Gold in 2012 for this work, although it’s still just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible (and what we’re doing today!)
  • What changes more is the impact that Big Data is having on the world of media. Because, with all of this data comes a new world of targeting. Media agencies and media planners now know more about the audience they’re buying than ever before. The process of buying itself is even changing at pace: the emergence of RTB (Real Time Bidding) means that ads are served based on explicit targeting – as a media buyer, you ONLY buy the ad placement if the viewer is your exact audience. Right now, it probably accounts for about 10-15% of any media buy, but that number’s increasing rapidly and it will become more and more important as we develop campaigns. It’s the first change that really impacts creative, because now we need to ask: “If you knew who’d see the ad, what would you do differently?”
  • let’s look to the near future… when more and more media will be delivered digitally. Today, TV is mainly received through an aerial, a satellite dish, or cable. The signal has no idea who receives it, nor who’s watching. But that’s changing. Not just Internet TV, but more and more ‘regular’ TV is going to be delivered digitally in the future. And that means the household receiving it will be identifiable. At the same time, the data available on the household will get more complete. So, TV Broadcasters will effectively know who’s watching shows. Suddenly, TV audiences will be more like online audiences – you’ll be able to pick and choose who sees what advertising. An ad break will no longer be the same for every household watching “Mad Men” – it will be based on who’s watching and which advertiser is willing to spend most. It’s been tested in the US already, using cable boxes that show different ads in different households, depending on the viewer. And it will grow. Now, imagine what this means for both TV Ads AND Digital activity.
  • And is growing through new technology…
  • Just to be clear – we’re not talking about social listening, nor the marketing practice of popping up in response to a conversation between other people!
  • But it is Facebook – and that’s the biggest show in town.Particularly now they’re about to start selling video ads at $1m a day.But more on that later…
  • This is far from exhaustive – it’s not even the smartest targeting you can do – but it’s indicative…
  • The one you no longer even notice, it’s done so well
  • This is much talked about at the moment with the release that Google are looking at all emails.See current court case…
  • Recycling bins with video screens that pick up MAC addresses from phones that pass.It doesn’t link to anything else, but does recognise if you’ve walked past the bin before!
  • O2 is doing deals (The Co Operative being an early advertiser to get involved) based on location – proximity to store
  • People talk about ‘relevance’, but it’s really about smart creative. The problem is, so far the most common example we have is that people who have looked at a product get retargeted. I met a guy recently who’d been stalked by garden sheds for 3 months – after looking (and buying) one online. The problem was, the ones he considered and rejected didn’t take No for an answer. They pursued him relentlessly. It’s a classic use of Big Data but it’s not good – it’s Nosferatu Marketing – like your local pizza restaurant manager following you around everywhere you go, offering you a deal if you eat in his restaurant that night. Popping up at work, on the tube, at the gym. You’d go mad. You’d probably punch him.
  • TIGHTER AUDIENCE = LESS CAUTIONBUT YOU CAN ALSO START TO FIND NEW WAYS TO TEST EFFECTIVENESS Targeting has always been a murky science – buying “Men” on TV just means that you have ‘less housewives’. There’s no real targeted buy. Everything we’ve done in the past, as advertisers, has to recognize the reality that it will be overheard. You can’t target any group specifically, so you have to produce work that doesn’t offend anyone. Work that your client can show around the business without getting fired. But what happens when you can pick who sees the ad? Surely, this is the moment when you stop presenting ads that are acceptable to all audiences and start showing things that are specifically going to grab the attention of your audience.
  • BETTER BRIEFSMORE FOCUS ON THE MESSAGE YOU NEED AT THIS POINT IN THE MARKETING JOURNEY, LESS “COVER IT ALL”FLIGHTING MEANS FOCUS ON A POINT IN THAT JOURNEYIn the same way, surely we can start to be more focused… If you’re not talking to everyone and we have the data to see what motivates purchase, then ads can become more single-minded. Less need to cram everything in, because we know who we’re talking to and what they need to hear to have an effect. Briefs will start to get punchier and the creative task will be more focused. To use the old analogy, you’ll be pitching one ball at your audience, not 3 – leaving more opportunity for creative engagement, not just wall to wall product explanation.
  • VARIETY/VERSIONS FOR DIFFERENT AUDIENCES AND FOR DIFFERENT STAGESBRANDS WITH MORE PERSONALITY – SHOWING DIFFERENT SIDES ON DIFFERENT OCCASIONS AND FOR DIFF AUDIENCESOf course, if you’re targeting acutely, you’ll need to have more than one execution. Once you split older/younger or male/female or previous purchases vs. new, then you’ll need to talk to them differently. The challenge for agencies and creatives will be how to produce more variety rather than just versions of the same thing. The great thing is that we’re talking about more creativity, rather than less. The opportunity to produce more varied work and to find different ways to present a consistent brand – because you’re talking to different audiences.
  • THE ABILITY TO TRACK YOUR WORK AS IT LAUNCHESAND TO HAVE A MISSION ROOM MENTALITY – WHAT NEXT?Finally, there’s a whole new science to tracking active campaigns. Again, the capabilities of Big Data mean that you’ll see more campaigns reporting in real time. As a team, you’ll see what happened the day before (if not the hour before). The impact the TV ads are having as well as the feedback people give. The amount of people that watch the whole way through, the actions taken, and so on. It’s happening to a degree today with digital ads – the best agencies already see live data on digital and social campaigns. But what happens when that ‘control room’ mentality hits the rest of advertising? Are you going to be able to edit on the fly? Can the print ads be subtly changed to work harder? Do you flip the existing media rollout and start with something digital that you bubble up to TV, rather than launching on TV and supporting in other media? Or is someone going to make a campaign that morphs as it plays out – changing daily and constantly enthralling the audience?
  • Almost more important than everything before, is the possibility this brings…What will people do, when they can treat people as if they know something about them?How do we do awesome new ideas, rather than just becoming creepy marketing freaks?
  • One of the most frequently cited examples of Big Data having a positive impact on creativity is Nike+Turning running (which can be enormously solitary) into the most social sport. Until the others followed suit!
  • What was most interesting was how this led to a whole new world of apps, products and ideas – all because the data gave new opportunities creatively (not just strategically).
  • Oreos didn’t use any addressable media opportunities (that I’ve seen), but they DID use it to fine-tune the briefs every day
  • We ran the first live Facebook Fan Bar – hosted by Heineken, for the UEFA Champions League Final in London, 2013.With live social activity and real-time creative.But, again, the data was all used as input and monitoring – not to deliver the message!
  • People talk about ‘relevance’, but it’s really about smart creative. The problem is, so far the most common example we have is that people who have looked at a product get retargeted. I met a guy recently who’d been stalked by garden sheds for 3 months – after looking (and buying) one online. The problem was, the ones he considered and rejected didn’t take No for an answer. They pursued him relentlessly. It’s a classic use of Big Data but it’s not good – it’s Nosferatu Marketing – like your local pizza restaurant manager following you around everywhere you go, offering you a deal if you eat in his restaurant that night. Popping up at work, on the tube, at the gym. You’d go mad. You’d probably punch him.
  • There’s a fantastic interview on youtube with Tracy Scheppach from StarcomMediaVest – talking about using addressable media for Allstate.However, it’s about how a niche audience could be bought, meaning that Allstate put new money into TV – but not about doing anything different creatively.
  • Big Data should be an accelerator of Bravery and Ambition, not just a planning tool.
  • Facebook uses Big Data to work itself – that’s how it delivers your own page, for everyone that logs in.It’s how you can use Facebook Connect across any site – and be pre-logged in if you’re logged into Facebook.But it’s also how their advertising system works.
  • My personal favourite – and I’ve been served this a lot.So there’s no cap on the frequency AND they’re talking to someone who doesn’t work in an industry with uniforms.At least, not ones you can get a tax rebate for laundering!
  • This is a beautiful campaign, using social connections.And has amazing elements of personalisation in it.What more could they have done using addressable media?
  • Grey poupon actually used data – to reject people.I love that – it starts to show how data can do something different, but doesn’t involve targeting.
  • And, hell, this is just for fun.Ted. Doing e-cards.Genius.
  • Which meant that, even with a small budget, we were able to promote this video to over 3 million people in the UK.Against key targeting criteria.
  • So imagine what happens when Facebook does TV Ads – effectively…
  • Imagine a campaign where you only definitely know the first execution – maybe it’s a TV ad that starts a conversation.And then, from there, you build a campaign in real-time.
  • Or you just resolve the age-old argument of whose cut is the final one with a test.And, while you’re testing, why not throw in some more exciting options – the wild cards…
  • Or, you could not bother, and just Facebook shares.But, then, if you do nothing to make advertising on Facebook awesome, who knows whether it will reach it’s real share potential
  • Creativity in the time of Big Data

    1. 1. A talk for the planners and creatives of Miami Ad School Simon Law - August 2013
    2. 2. Page 2 Simon Law – Chief Strategy Officer, Fabric
    3. 3. Page 3 Fabric Creative shop and data platform
    4. 4. Page 4 This talk is about the (near) future… 2. Targeted Media 1. Big Data 3. The new rules for Creativity The Future
    5. 5. Page 5 But it‟s also about today
    6. 6. Page 6 And how we make something better
    7. 7. Page 7 Because advertising can be great (not just good)
    8. 8. Page 8 And, depending on who you listen to, this is the future Now that advertisements are more algorithm than Mad Men … the value of the merger will be tested by whether it ushers in the second golden age of advertising. It can do so only by merging the data and analytics of 21st century invention with the ideas and genius creativity of the first golden age of advertising, enabling efficiency and creativity to thrive side by side. #financialtimes
    9. 9. 1. Big Data
    10. 10. Page 10 Big Data is the new big thing #google
    11. 11. Page 11 But it isn‟t really a thing at all
    12. 12. Page 12 It‟s more of a capability, based on growing volumes
    13. 13. Page 13 Yet it might change the world… “Big Data will open the door to making smarter decisions in every field of human activity” #The New York Times, March 23, 2013
    14. 14. Page 14 #BBC Horizon: The Age of Big Data Note: Full video embedded – click on after first few minutes!
    15. 15. Page 15 Big Divorce Data #American Express CMO @ Stream 2011
    16. 16. Page 16 Big Flu Data #Google Flu Trends
    17. 17. Page 17 Big Police Data #BBC Horizon: The Age of Big Data
    18. 18. Page 18 In other words, Behavioural Data What people really do Rather than what they claim in research groups The trails of their interests, their interactions and their affinity And gives planners the ability to start from facts and reality Not just googling to find out who’s published an opinion
    19. 19. Page 19 Which changes the brief…
    20. 20. Page 20 Some examples from our own world…
    21. 21. Page 21 The influence of people, not experts…
    22. 22. Page 22 The power of 5 checkouts…
    23. 23. Page 23 What Apple browsers buy…
    24. 24. Page 24 What Mums really want from recipes…
    25. 25. Page 25 And a KFC campaign for Young Adult Females…
    26. 26. 2. Targeted (Addressable) Media
    27. 27. Page 27 What Addressable Media is… Targeted Media = Addressable Media • Addressable media is where you can pick the audience specifically • In other words, the media can show a DIFFERENT ad to each person • That may be based on their demographics, or some kind of behaviour • BUT it’s always based on KNOWING something about the audience • It tends to be digital, but that doesn’t mean it’s banners any more…
    28. 28. Page 28 It exists in the obvious place
    29. 29. Page 29 But that‟s less about „banners‟ these days… #Wired Magazine, 2010
    30. 30. Page 30 #Google VOD
    31. 31. Page 31 #Channel 4
    32. 32. Page 32 #Channel 4
    33. 33. Page 33 #DirecTV
    34. 34. Page 34 #DirecTV
    35. 35. Page 35
    36. 36. Page 36 #YouView
    37. 37. Page 37 #Apple
    38. 38. Page 38 Addressable is NOT social listening
    39. 39. Page 39 #Facebook
    40. 40. Page 40 So, addressable media is coming But, what are you addressing?
    41. 41. Page 41 Have we seen you before? What were you interested in? Do we have any demog data? Does that fit one of our target groups? Where did you come from? Can we guess what you want? What time is it? What’s most relevant now? What ads have you seen before? Example targeting questions (i.e., Machine options) What’s your location? Does that change anything? Using the Groups we have and the Content we‟ve got available, what do we show?
    42. 42. Page 42 KFC: Dynamic Page Content – driving a 12% uplift Morning Young Males Teens Dinner #Fabric
    43. 43. Page 43 KFC: Weather-dependent
    44. 44. Page 44 Flora: Achieving 4x the recipe views, 2x engagement #Fabric
    45. 45. Page 45 Amazon: The „Daddy‟ of personalised site experiences
    46. 46. Page 46 But none of this goes far enough!
    47. 47. Page 47 Addressable makes new things possible • Mainly, it’s about Targeting – both Ads + Content But it also means: • Flighting (i.e., choosing what order people see ads/content in) • Capping frequency • Personalising ads/content (to a degree!) • Recognising who saw your ads/content later • Learning what effect those ads/content had • Seeing how people respond to ads/content (in reality, not in research)
    48. 48. Page 48 But Creepy Clevervs.
    49. 49. Page 49 Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it. #Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
    50. 50. Page 50
    51. 51. Page 51
    52. 52. Page 52 It‟s not Minority Report
    53. 53. 3. The new rules for Creativity
    54. 54. Page 54 Agile Adaptive Real-time Dynamic Native Creativity
    55. 55. Page 55 Big Data means… ① Bolder Work
    56. 56. Page 56 Big Data means… ① ② Bolder Work Simpler Messages
    57. 57. Page 57 Big Data means… ① ② ③ Bolder Work Simpler Messages More Creative (more of it)
    58. 58. Page 58 Big Data means… ① ② ③ ④ Bolder Work Simpler Messages More Creative More Control
    59. 59. Page 59 Big Data means… ① ② ③ ④ ⑤ Bolder Work Simpler Messages More Creative More Control New Ideas
    60. 60. Page 60 #Nike+
    61. 61. Page 61 #Nike
    62. 62. Page 62 Sadly, this is rare!
    63. 63. Page 63 It‟s hard to find great work that genuinely uses Big Data beyond the planning phase…
    64. 64. Page 64 #Oreos Facebook
    65. 65. Page 65 #Fabric
    66. 66. Page 66 #Re-targeting – and the story of Andrew“2 Sheds” Freeman (of Harris Interactive)
    67. 67. Page 67 This has tended to be a media tool. And the media POV tends to be focused on how you reach an audience, rather than what you do WITH that audience.
    68. 68. Page 68 This is the next Big Opportunity for both planners & creatives
    69. 69. Page 69 And it‟s available right now…
    70. 70. 4. Facebook – The future, today…
    71. 71. Page 71 Facebook is Big Data
    72. 72. Page 72 Server farms the size of 4 football pitches Facebook processes 2.5 billion pieces of content and 500+ terabytes of data each day. It’s pulling in 2.7 billion Like actions and 300 million photos per day, and it scans roughly 105 terabytes of data each half hour. #Facebook, August 2012
    73. 73. Page 73
    74. 74. Page 74 Facebook can serve depending on: Location (inc. mobile location) Your age, sex, education Your interests and activities Your affiliation (Likes) to a brand (or not)
    75. 75. Page 75
    76. 76. Page 76 The most advanced targeting system on the planet – with over a Billion people But…
    78. 78. Page 78
    79. 79. Page 79
    80. 80. Page 80 It’s not all bad, though…
    81. 81. Page 81
    82. 82. Page 82
    83. 83. Page 83
    84. 84. Page 84 52 million people in the UK aged 14+ c. 36 million on Facebook, aged 13+ = 69% of population on Facebook today #Facebook, 2012 Census
    85. 85. Page 85 #Fabric
    86. 86. Page 86
    87. 87. Page 87 So… • Facebook already has the targeting in place • People have done Cannes-winning work on Facebook, but it hasn’t yet leveraged the capabilities of Big Data and Addressable Media • Planners have leveraged Big Data, but not enough and it’s not yet been used to radically change the creative itself – more the briefing – and, more often than not, it’s Small Data rather than Big! • With Facebook launching Video Advertising, the ability to target a mass audience will become a very real possibility • And this isn’t the only show in town – think about YouTube, VOD, etc…
    88. 88. Page 88 As all these things become possible, future planners and creatives will conceive of something amazing… They will create a new campaign that goes into the hall of “awesome”. Will it be you?
    89. 89. Page 89 Three Thought Starters… ① Targeted Ads within Campaigns
    90. 90. Page 90 Campaign Idea Edit for Young Males Edit for Young Females Edit for Brand Loyalists Video Execution
    91. 91. Page 91 ① ② Targeted Ads within Campaigns Campaigns that Evolve Three Thought Starters…
    92. 92. Page 92 Campaign Launch See first day’s activity and responses Create specific ads to address response Monitor reactions and sales impact Re-edit TV campaign to increase interest
    93. 93. Page 93 ① ② ③ Targeted Ads within Campaigns Campaigns that Evolve Pre-testing in the real world Three Thought Starters…
    94. 94. Page 94 Client’s favourite cut/edit/ending Compromise version Creative team’s favourite cut/edit/ending All posted on YouTube and promoted for 3 days – results/data tracked Best- performing version gets aired on TV, plus VOD
    95. 95. Page 95 And… ① ② ③ ④ Targeted Ads within Campaigns Campaigns that Evolve Pre-testing in the real world Buying Facebook shares #Facebook shares: The value of an investment can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in
    96. 96. Page 96 The thought starters I’ve given you are dull. They’re rational approaches. This needs genius – the moment where it turns into something awesome. And that’s your challenge…
    97. 97. #Looney Tunes