Debate Club: Creative v data – which contributes more to campaign success?

Gai Le Roy, Willian Vargas, Taran Singh, Nola Solomon, Georgia Brammer, and Mediaweek’s Ricky Chanana made up the judging panel.

Last night, Debate Club asked the question: Creative versus data – which contributes more to campaign success?

Fabulate’s Steph Darmanin, Mediaocean’s Jack Scrivener, and Adform’s Sara Muller argued for creativity, while, iProspect’s Heloise Parlett, Just Egg’s Alex Martin, and Uber’s Julia Edwards made the case for data.

IAB’s Gai Le Roy, Futur’s Willian Vargas, Criteo’s Taran Singh and Nola Solomon, Flashtalking’s Georgia Brammer, and Mediaweek‘s chief growth director Ricky Chanana made up the judging panel.

Debate Club

While the respective arguments for creative and data were compelling, the audience and judges ultimately voted in favour of the creative team.

Arguing for the creative side, Scrivener highlighted the infamous Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner, which he noted was “fed by data”.

“This campaign touched on a very emotional and very important movement, the Black Lives Matter movement; it was completely tone-deaf and completely tanked.

“So, if they have the best data in the world, and the creative they ran was completely tone-deaf, and this creative was fed in by the data and led to millions of losses, was this data wrong?

The creative is what will make or break your campaign.”


Darmanin cemented the case for creative, adding: “Data can be useful, but only through the story we give it, coloured by our personal experiences and interpretation.

“Data only becomes valuable when transmitted through our creative vision. Something that I thought was really beautiful is that creativity is the oxygen of marketing. People are more likely to purchase if they’re emotionally connected to a brand. I would say that the creative aspects of the campaign are the secret sauce to winning your audience over.”

Debate Club’s partners include Mediaweek, and IAB Australia, with the first debate of the year held in Feburary.

That debate – will programmatic rule in 2029? – featured Chanana as a debater, who argued for the rapid adoption of programmatic in traditional media channels such as out of home and connected TV alongside Caitlin Huskins, commercial director at Azerion JAPAC, and Hillary Xu, senior DV360 Lead at Google.

“The point we’re trying to make here is [that programmatic] will be the default. That means 90-95% of all buying will go to programmatic by default,” Chanana argued.

See also: Advertising Debate Club: Will programmatic rule in 2029?

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