6 best soundbites from The Drum & Sphere’s “Data and Creativity” panel event

31 Oct 2016

6 best soundbites from The Drum & Sphere’s “Data and Creativity” panel event

This week, a host of digital delegates descended on central London’s Congress Centre to attend an expert panel discussion event, hosted by Sphere Digital Recruitment, to explore the question: “Does data-driven advertising need saving by creativity?”.

Chaired by The Drum’s Justin Pearse, the expert panel included Ruth Zohrer (Head of Programmatic at Mindshare), Michael Hand (VP EMEA at Spongecell), Vincent Potier (COO at Captify) and COO at Quill, Michael Houlihan.

Over the course of the morning, the panel debated the current state of data-driven advertising, and the delicate balance to be struck between leveraging insights from data and using a marketer’s natural creative instinct to generate effective advertising and marketing campaigns. Here are six of our favourite soundbites from the event.


Rumours of ad-blocking killing the industry have seemingly been overstated, with Captify’s Vincent Potier commenting that brands can overcome the ad-blocker challenge by taking a customer-first approach.


Taking aim at the misconception that consumers aren’t interested in sales content, Quill’s Michael Houlihan highlighted the importance of useful, relevant information that helps customers make purchase decisions.


Spongecell’s Michael Hand pointed to co-operation as the ultimate enabler of great creative, emphasising that agency and brand teams should work closely together to get the best results.


Citing the illuminating statistic that 61% of 16-24 year-olds get their political news from Facebook – without seeking a secondary source – Mindshare’s Ruth Zohrer underscored the responsibility content creators have to use data ethically to tell truthful stories.


Drawing on retail experience, Quill’s Michael Houlihan pointed out the cultural chasm between trading teams focused on click-through and conversions and creative teams focused on high-level, brand-elevating activity – pointing to content as a great way to ensure the creative brand ‘idea’ flows through to the actual shopping journey.


Much has been said about the creative ‘gut instinct’, but Mindshare’s Ruth Zohrer shrewdly pointed out that creatives spend hours, days (or even weeks) on research to come up with the perfect ‘gold dust’ idea. So it follows that having more – and more diverse – inputs can only help with the generation of these elusive eureka moments.

Lauren Johnson-Ginn @ Quill ContentHead of Marketing Communications at Quill, passionate about all things content and digital.

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