Today Ben Malbon and Aman Govil from Google Marketing revisited and updated their perspectives on Art, Copy and Code. Although this project was launched at last year’s SXSW, the guys provided additional tales about how to use data and human insight to bring creativity and code together. Much of this was about using search as a database of intent and as creative fuel in the planning and insight phase of campaign development.

One example they used was inspired by the (legendary) Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. They had decided to pull search data that evidenced changing levels of self esteem over time and place in the US. The process simply aggregated volumes of search terms like “how to be more pretty”, “how to be more popular” and more. They found that this kind of search had increased by five times over the last five years. There was no suggestion that this was a particularly scientific part of a potential planning process, but hunts like this can be indicative of a potential creative opportunity.

One of the other key themes was that there is plenty of opportunity to innovate in art and code with some of the less recent technology. Search, YouTube and location data can all be mined effectively without needing to mess with Google Glass or self driving cars. It’s just that sometimes it’s tempting to gaze into the future rather than look at what we can do cleverly today. Sometimes we fetishize the ‘new’ and miss the forest for the trees.

Finally, Ben barely contained his cynacism for the current marketing trend du jour, ‘real time marketing’. He reminded us all put our ideas through a filter of “people don’t care about your brand or your ads”. This is of course good advice in general, but in real-time activity it’s particularly pertinent as you try and find pride of place in people’s streams. The lads suggested that what people want in this context is emotional reward, immediacy & relevance and snackability.

The discussion wandered away from the promise of understanding code vs. art better, but I think the potential insights from data fuelling creative concepts, was a great reminder. Over the next month, I’ll certainly be exploring a range of techniques to better achieve this.


See more of The Royals’ coverage at SXSW Live and Fresh, a collaboration with B&T.

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