Nothing can replace creativity, says Gordon Bowen amid growing focus on data

Madonna Badger highlighed the need for gender-sensitive narratives in ads

Goa: Taking inspiration from Dante’s Inferno and presenting an interesting set of dialogues of Lt. Commander Data from Starfleet, McGarryBowen founder and global chairman Gordon Bowen highlighted the importance of creativity in creating successful ad campaigns in today’s data-driven world. Bowen was speaking on Day 2 of the ongoing Goafest, a conclave that celebrates the best in the marketing and advertising world. The subject of his talk was ‘Data’s Inferno’.

Addressing the crowd Bowen said, “Nothing can ever replace creativity. If I go back to Dante’s Inferno, or in this case, Data’s Inferno, if you wish to go to paradise, you all would have to recognise that you will have to create. The first words in the Bible are ‘God created’. It (the world) is not data-driven. It is creation-driven.”

Bowen showcased some of the most impressive campaigns created by McGarryBowen globally, including campaigns like ‘Intel Inside’, Miracle Whip, ‘I’m a princess’ for Disney, and the Olympics campaign for ‘United Airlines’, to drive the point home. He said, “Data can’t bring together the four—music, story, text, and artifact.”

Bowen insisted that along with reading the data and planning accordingly, it is very important to be intuitive and design campaigns, given that humans are very unique and have the ability to abstract their emotions.

Also taking the stage on day was Badger & Winters founder and chief creative officer Madonna Badger, who talked about the need for being gender-sensitive while creating campaigns.

The crusador of #WomenNotObjects movement, Badger stated that it is not about he or she, to create campaigns that do not degrade women as mere objects, but a collective effort to help the men, women, and children alike.

She highlighted four essential filters that brands can use to ensure that their ads are not demeaning to women: women should not be used as props, i.e., they should have a part in the narrative; one should refrain from using just body parts of women in their campaigns and not sexualise them; photoshopping body types, complexion, hair, or anything should not be done; one should be empathetic while creating any narrative.

She said, “Women are sexual beings like men. It is okay for us if we want to be sexy or pretty but the problem arises when it is weaponised to such an extent that women become things.”

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