Ferrier also claimed “marketing is not rocket science.” He said it’s much more complicated than that.
“Rocket science and brain science are actually quite simple, albeit important, jobs. Marketing is much harder because you’re dealing with humans and emotions,” he said.
“Ideas come from the mistakes and the craziness of culture but machines don’t operate like that. They do efficiencies and optimise ridiculous shit. Until there’s a computer [debating against us], we win.”
TrinityP3 managing director Nathan Hodges, debating for a machine-led future of marketing, said there is no denying machines and creativity are interdependent, yet there is an order of which comes first.
“There’s a co-relationship there. Each makes the other better. And that order is fundamental to the success of that relationship. We’re in the business of commercial creativity, not creative commerce. And in there, there is a blend, and there is a balance, but there is also an order of attack and it is crucial.”
He argued machines should come first because “consumers are messy and complicated creatures.”
“The more we find out about humans the more data points we have and the messier and more complicated they seem to become. But the beauty of the machine that we’re building with all of these data points is its ability to articulate, quantify and overlay all of those different data points.
“It provides a structure and a foundation, and a strategy for help. It’s a strategy and a practical application with a budget and ROI that provides a brief and a platform for creativity. It has to be that way around.”
He also said it’s a myth everyone has all the same data points making machinery-based creative work nondistinctive from one another.
“No one has all their data lined up. It’s a myth. There’s so much ground to be made there.”
On the other side of the debate, GroupM chief investment officer Nicola Lewis said advertising always will be “grounded in art.”
“Creativity lies on imagination,” she said. “Imagination is the conscious representation of what is not immediately present to the five senses, and the five senses can be measured. Imagination cannot be measured, nor can it be mimicked.
Lewis said: “To accept that machine is creativity to propagate the world of media dystopia.”
Nine director of Powered Liana Dubois, also debating for a creative-led future, said what has led our growth innovation is human creativity, and the only thing that can drive creativity is a human.
“Human is the only thing that understands a human. A machine never can.”
Dubois said: “Creativity has literally transformed the world around us. The machine driving all of it is the creative machine. The machine, which applies to things like technology, automation, data, programmatic, procurement, martech – all those cogs are designed by humans.”
She said machines will never keep up or lead because it is humans who are creating the codes and algorithms, adding: “Only human instinct; only human emotion; only human experience; and only a human being can drive another human bein to act in a way and influence their human behavior.”
Prior to the debate, an audience poll was taken on whether the future of marketing should be machine or creative-led. Two-thirds of the audience voted creative. At the end of the debate? Creativity still came out on top.