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Science and Creativity: Complements, Not Opposites
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As technology continues to pour into the advertising world, it is easy to see where conflict may arise. Our advertising world is full of creatives; those who believe the thought, the concept, should always be the focus (either for, or even to the detriment of the product).

As the C-Suite demanded more data and ROI and tracking and marketing departments and digital agencies blindly obeyed and brought in data analysts, predictive modelers, and the like, a creative idea — though unconventional or untried — would be squashed for data-driven, ROI-proven techniques.

The conflict was bound to happen sooner or later. The thing is, this kind of conflict is nothing new.

Years ago we highlighted the shift in thought of advertising during its Golden Age; we featured Team Bernbach and Team Ogilvy. Bernbach believed that advertising was essentially commercial art, and without good creative, the ad was bound to die. Ogilvy, on the other hand, was research-oriented and copy driven. He cared more about what was said versus how it is being said. Ogilvy was of the mindset that if one wrote copy that had 100 words, if they were 100 great words, he'd be fine with it.

Both agreed that a bad product, with good advertising, would be a losing battle.

Let us fast forward to our day. We have the creatives and the technologists; those who believe good creative will consistently win versus those who think the right data will attract the right customer.

The application with Bernbach and Ogilvy is the same with the creatives and technologists — why compete? Implementing both is a great idea.

An executive from DraftFCB Chicago recently wrote an article about the nonsensical divide between data lovers and creatives. Why should we assume that creatives don't appreciate data, and vice versa? Actually, we are of the mindset that data can help guide the creative. Note, we are not saying the data should dictate the creative, but give it ideas the creative can run with. That is a winning formula.

The article is a good read, and we recommend it. The key is that balance is good in all things.

And the one thing our lovely industry could have more of is balance.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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