10 Reasons Agencies Don’t Really Love Big Data

Agency Exec X is a former top executive at a major advertising agency.

The big new thing is Big Data. Agencies love to talk about it suddenly. But that’s all they do – and that’s all it will remain: talk, not action. Here’s 10 reasons why.

1. Big Data is not sexy. People will tell you that it is, or that it can be, but fundamentally most ad agency people don’t believe that. It has what we might call an image problem.

Sexy Nerd Whos not Sexy


2. Big Data will not win you a shiny award. Again, people will tell you that it can, or that it should but right now it’s not. And ad agency folk love themselves an award.


3. Big Data does not get you on a plane to a shoot in Cape Town or even a room in Shutters.


4. Big Data is too complicated. It’s a load of numbers and spreadsheets and research and work, actual work. When Martin Sorrell says it’s about Math Men not Mad Men that highlights the problem beautifully. The ad industry is great at doing clever things like that, wordplay, but anything beyond that starts to get tedious very quickly.

 Number Soup


5. Big Data is boring. See above, where are the art buyers and free M&Ms? See also: anything to do with search.


6. Big Data is not in “Mad Men.” There are no Big Data Don Drapers or even David Drogas. There is nobody we can all look up to and say, “Ah, I get it, I could be like him (and it will probably always be a ‘him’)! He looks like he’s having a grand old time.”



7. No one actually knows what Big Data is.



8. Anyone who actually knows what Big Data is does not want to work at an ad agency. Because they will be better appreciated somewhere else. Somewhere, say, with a future.

woman at google on a segway

9. Anyone who actually knows what Big Data is and does want to work at ad agency will be very, very expensive.

money black hole

10. I’ve always wanted an excuse to write a listicle. Just one.


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