Grant Millar, UK CEO, The ZenithOptimedia Group on why data is getting creative

pic0105 - Grant_Millar_H&SCannes Lions gets bigger and better each year and Media has contributed to the richness and diversity of the festival.

Inevitably data has been rising up the ranks of prominence at the Festival too. From “big data versus creativity” to “creative versus programmatic” this has now been formally acknowledged with the new Creative Data Lion category, showcasing the best in data and creative as the two come together.

With so many of last year’s biggest winners performing well on the social web, it is good to reflect the reality of client demand and see data finally acknowledged on a worldwide stage as an integral part of the communications process. Astro-physicist Professor Brian Cox is getting involved in the debate and will personally join us to explore behavioural data in an increasingly digital world.

With data comes responsibility. This year, ad fraud and viewability have been issues at the top of the advertising agenda. Back in April last year the IAB followed the US and lifted its advisory against trading on viewable display impressions. At a pivotal point for online advertising, this debate will continue in Cannes as publishers, brands, technologists and agencies alike look to debate the best means to enhance the effectiveness of online ads.

Looking beyond data, it is likely that the ethics of advertising will be discussed more widely.  This year, from the Advertising Association’s Lead 2015 conference to sessions at Ad Week and Media 360, there have been heated panel discussions on the decline of consumer trust in brands and the advertising they are conveyed by. As the industry increasingly finds itself scrutinised in the public eye, there will no doubt be discussion of how to strike a positive balance and raise the industry’s reputation through creativity.

While the topics may not be new, this year they take on a renewed importance as the advertising industry plays an even greater role in our online and offline worlds.