‘Data creates nothing,’ blasts Hegarty

Data creates nothing blasts HegartyAdland luvvie Sir John Hegarty has waded into the age-old debate over data versus creativity by claiming data has never created wealth, adding “data creates nothing; but creativity has all the time”.
Speaking at Advertising Week, Hegarty told Campaign magazine: “I would actually argue that data has never created wealth, never. Creativity has, all the time. Because it imagines something. And people go, ‘I like that. I respond to that.’
“But data in itself creates nothing. It’s creativity which makes things. We’ve got to remember that. If you’re an organisation trying to increase your profitability, or expand your market, data is very important. But it’s creativity that will make that happen.”
The timing of his rant is strange, however, given that his own agency – Bartle Bogle Hegarty – was recently forced to jump into bed with direct and data marketing stalwarts Simon Hall and Warren Moore. The move is understood to have been forced on the agency after British Airways demanded it set up a DM operation or risk losing the advertising account.
BBH’s own direct and data driven division Limbo – where the likes of Mike Cavers, Juliet Timms, Ben Stephens and Steve Stretton all plied their trade – was folded back in the Nineties.
The argument over which is more important – the data or the creative – has been raging since John Watson and Drayton Bird were in short trousers with many in adland holding the view that direct marketing agencies were simply purveyors of “shit that folds”.
But Hegarty’s claim that data has never created wealth will no doubt lead some to question whether he has finally lost the plot. After all, you only have to look to the likes of Tesco Clubcard – hardly renowned for its Cannes Lions triumphs – for proof of the power of data. The scheme has long been hailed as one of the key factors in turning Tesco from a pile it high, sell it cheap company into one of the largest retailers in the world.
Meanwhile, Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby walked off with a cool £93m when they finally severed all ties from their eponymous agency.

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1 Comment on "‘Data creates nothing,’ blasts Hegarty"

  1. RT @DM_editor: ‘Data creates nothing,’ blasts John Hegarty http://t.co/Lzzy1ryOZP #advertising #directmarketing #digitalmarketing

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