How Creative Marketers Use Data To Inspire Audiences

Nothing lights up a creative marketer more than a brilliant campaign that strikes an emotional chord with the target. So can something as impersonal and abstract as “big data” really really have an emotional impact?

In Daniel Gilbert’s book “Stumbling on Happiness,” he offers a term called “experience stretching” which states that “once we have an experience, we are thereafter unable to see the world as we did before.” This is precisely how I feel about applying data to marketing. Once you’ve taken a data-driven approach to marketing, it becomes nearly impossible to do it any other way.

Here are three creative campaigns that leverage big data to inspire, delight and inform the consumer experience.

British Airways uses real-time location data to inspire passersby

British Airways wanted to promote the magic of flying and who better to display that joy than a child pointing up at an airplane? The airline company coupled an interactive billboard, strategically placed in a city center, and synced it with an antenna on the roof of a nearby building. The antenna was triggered when a British Airways plane was overhead and sent data points, such as the speed of the plane, the destination and altitude. The billboard offered a cinematic display of a child pointing up towards the plane with a text prompt stating, “Look, it’s flight BA475 from Barcelona.” By combining real-time data and what is typically considered a more traditional form of advertising, they were able to evoke a sense of childlike wonder, encouraging audiences to reexamine a feeling they might have once felt around the joy of traveling.   

Nike uses data to customize messaging for their runners

Instead of creating a blanket year-in-review video to inspire runners, Nike leveraged data sets to create over 100,000 animated personalized shorts for their fan base. By incorporating individual user data, such as running distances, best race times and least active days, they were able to empower their audiences by providing a beautiful animation customized to their gender, running paths, location and more. It also gave them a personalized 2014 progress report and along with a slight nudge to encourage them to “Outdo You” (themselves) in 2015.

Kleenex uses data to inform timing of “Cold and Flu” campaign

Kleenex Balsam is a line of Kleenex that consists of a special balm that helps reduce irritation and redness from repetitive nose-blowing. Kimberley-Clark had ill-advisedly launched their “cold and flu campaign” promoting this line during one of the hottest October months ever in the UK, resulting in wasted marketing dollars. The following year, they paired their campaign with data by monitoring flu-related keyword searches in Google to better understand when and where flu symptoms were high. They were able to use this data to guide tactical buying across regional radio stations, proximity mobile, TV spot and digital display. By monitoring the search volume on these queries they were able to increase sales by 40% from the prior year.

Many marketers are reexamining the way they traditionally conceive new marketing campaigns with the advent of big data technologies and tools. And while some marketers might feel that their Eureka! moment is too formulaic with first and third party data, these campaigns prove that data technologies and tools can be used to bolster, enhance and upgrade their creative messaging.