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Bret Gunter - 06.15.2017

Mad Men Meets the Data Analyst

On June 1, 1949, the advertising agency Doyle Dane and Bernbach, or DDB, was created. Aside from becoming one of the most successful ad agencies in the world, DDB is also notable for Bill Bernbach pairing the copywriter and art director and forming the creative department model that continues to this day. By pairing creative minds and encouraging collaboration, advertising went from the hard sell to, at its best, a form of short, persuasive entertainment.

Fast forward almost 70 years when even terms like, “fast forward” are 50 years old, and it makes sense that this previously revolutionary model would undergo a few upgrades. But the tenets of that earlier model are intact.

What made Bernbach’s model so successful was the collaboration it encouraged.

Today, with the seemingly endless digital options available to reach an audience, being able to collaborate with bigger teams and think in multiple ways and explore different options is critical to a creative team. Similar to the copywriter/art director team in the past, having a developer/writer/designer/UX/UI/content strategist team working closely on a digital project can be the difference between launching a dud and blowing minds.

Being versatile has always benefited the creator. Now versatility, is a necessity. On the creative team at Sagepath, we have logo designers, illustrators, photographers, video editors, songwriters, animators, carpenters, food stylists, copywriters, art directors and a number of other talents we haven’t even tapped into yet, and it’s not because we have a staff of hundreds. It’s because our team of creators has versatility and they aren’t afraid of different approaches.

Bernbach believed in the art of persuasion. He argued that there were “great technicians in advertising,” who could tell you the exact formula of a great ad, but “persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.” It’s uncertain how well he would have fared against the mountains of data that we are now privy to. It’s hard to argue the science of marketing when faced with technology that literally follows consumer’s eyes while they gaze upon an ad.

When Bernbach spoke of the art of advertising, he was speaking to something he, like modern creators, possess and that’s perspective, the ability to see all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship. It’s the skill of being able to shovel through the data and find those connections. Creating magic where there was no magic before doesn’t happen because of data, it happens because there was someone there crazy enough to dig into the data and interpret it with a photo or a headline or a fully immersive VR experience.