The ethics of data

Data meets creativity and it isn’t all sunshine and roses

Based on “Campaign Global” Sept. 19

Data is undeniably a necessary part of marketing, but it comes with a question mark or two. The tension between data and its involvement in the creative process is ongoing. With the rising importance of data, creativity needs to reaffirm its place in marketing and embrace this change. Is it even possible to create an interplay of data and creativity to facilitate a strong, lasting value for brands? And what are sustainable and ethical ways to use data creatively?

Ted Lim, chief creative officer at Dentsu APAC, answers these questions: “Data is a must-have, a hygiene factor in business today. Creativity is the differentiating factor that moves the people data has helped reach. Data informs the creative and media strategy without which we will be shooting in the dark.” He really highlights the strong dependence of both factors with the words: “Data tells us where the customer is. … Creativity is the competitive advantage that moves people and business.” Data without creativity is only one half of the story and both need to function together!

Best Practice Examples

But how does this look like for brands? A few recent examples of contestants for the Creative Data Lion Award have the potential to shape the future.

campaign was chosen not only for its marketing wiz but also for its cultural
impact. The campaign reclaimed the slur that African-Americans encounter online
all too often, encouraging them to travel to one or more of Africa’s 54
countries with customized content based on personal preferences for wildlife,
design or specific locations.

That campaign, highlighting gender inequality in car safety, opened 40 years of Volvo crash-test research data to make all cars safer for women.

data usage

People are starting
to think about the ethics of data – it’s not just how we get the data but also
how we can use it in the right way.

Sasaki, Head of digital creative, Dentsu Inc, states: “People don’t trust
brands because brands get data from users, but with a great idea, people start
to trust brands again and provide their data for a better experience.” The
right way of data usage leads to a win-win position for both brands and users. 

example highlighting an excellent way of using data is Project Revoice, which
uses voice technology to give people suffering from conditions such as ALS
their voice back. The team developed an algorithm into which voice samples were
fed to digitally clone the participants voice.

Naidu executive creative director at BWM Sydney summarized the topic perfectly
when he said: “People are wary about what technology companies are doing with
their stored data. To use that data, you’ve got to do it in a very transparent
way… that customers feel that you’re not stalking them or selling their
information. It’s how you use it ethically that’s going to become interesting.”

Do you need help to combine creativity and data in your next campaign whilst also making it ethical? Contact us today to make a change at