“I mine text and data to create great ad strategies, concepts and content.”

Data Hierarchy Pyramid

What is “Creative Data Hacking”? It’s a powerful new knowledge discovery-to-content process I’ve developed that involves acquiring and analyzing data, then reframing and brainstorming with it to create award-winning ad strategies, concepts and content. It can unlock valuable information, offer a real competitive advantage, and turn text and data into money and metal.

magnifying glass eyeballBy using programming, data analysis, and subsets of Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing), it lets marketers be creative with 10 to 100 to even 1000 times more relevant information inspiration. It also lets you gain insight at a more granular level. (Good data, like good writing, is specific.) Since a lot of that information comes from customers, it can give you a different level of understanding and connection with them. Generate framing/reframing strategies to help them better understand the real value of your product or service. And create kick-ass content that can generate attention, sales and even more insightful data.

As an Emmy-winning Copywriter / Creative Director with a rabid interest in data science and text analytics, my mission is to help companies, Planners, Researchers, Growth Hackers, Startups, Marketing Directors, Creative Directors and their teams get better information and do great work. I can work in your office or remotely. Freelance or on staff. I love this stuff. Let’s find a project to work on:)

“Data is insights with crappy branding.” Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer, EVP BBDO

We talk a lot in advertising about “getting to know and understand a client’s business”. IMO, there’s no better way to do that than working with relevant data. Computers don’t have insights. People do. Especially creative people like myself who've spent years concepting ideas with other creatives and developing a strong intuition about what’s funny, interesting and impactful.

A lot of super smart agency folks are starting to embrace data as a big part of advertising’s creative future. Agencies like Saatchi (and Creative Director Chris Pierantozzi) are turning data into creative every day in their “Quant” division. M&C Saatchi London recently experimented with Artificial Intelligence and a self-improving poster. AI is helping cut movie trailers, write clickbait headlines – even create Social Retail promotions. Deutsch used Artificial Intelligence to make a fun web experience for VW. And Greg Hahn (Chief Creative Officer, EVP BBDO) recently wrote an article about how BBDO turned data into a Cannes Lion.


Simple Example: How to get a computer to help you write email Subject Headings (or banners).

rain man

Famed, MIT Linguist Noam Chomsky has written about the mind’s tendency to “Generalize, Delete and Distort” in order to make sense of a LOT of information. Think about how you read a book... You don’t remember all the specific nouns, verbs and 5-word phrases. Only an autistic “Rain Man” could possibly do that. Instead, you walk away with a general overview of the story and a loose memory of some specific things about the characters, relationships or bits of dialog.

But not Text Mining software and Natural Language Processing algorithms. They can work with large amounts of text that would cause your mind to blur. They can count everything, numerous useful ways. Tabulate and sort the most popular 2, 3, 4, and 5 word phrases. Tell you the words that naturally go together. Inform you of the most popular nouns, verbs, and adjectives your customers are using. (Wouldn’t you like to know what “things” (nouns) your customers are talking about? Their beliefs? Their values? What they like and don’t like?) Algorithms like LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) can actually take large amounts of text, reduce it down, and pitch you clusters of “concepts”. Plus, computers never get bored, complain about the lousy assignment they’re working on, or ask for a “slash” on the work you produce.

 So let’s say you’re trying to write email Subject Headings for a Type2 Diabetes drug.

Your ultimate goal is to arrive at a relevant, engaging, 4 or 5-word sentence, right? Yes, you could Google “Living with Type2 Diabetes” and you’d get 84 million results. You’d start reading some of those articles or blogs. And after 5 or 10, you’d have a pretty good overview. Maybe even cull some specific ideas or phrases. Awesome.

But with Web Scraping and Text Mining, you could also ingest 50 to 100 articles into the computer. Then ask Python’s Natural Language Toolkit to return all of the 4 and 5-word phrases (technically known as n-grams), sorted in order of how frequently they appear in all that text. Your mind just can’t do that. Chances are, some of the Top 50 would make good email Subject Headings.

Since you’ve done some Googling, reading and research yourself, you can now understand the context for “Living with Type2 Diabetes”. And we can make some informed decisions about which of the Top 50 might have the most impact. As a Copywriter, I can use my creative intuition to select the 4 or 5-grams with the most promise, and work with them to be more interesting Subject Headings.

That’s just one simple example of how getting creative with data can be a great addition (not a replacement) to the way you now approach coming up with strategies and concepts.

For more involved and interesting use cases for Creative Data, please click here.