Law: 'don't fear the data'

Nick Law

Nick Law


As the industry debate rages over the relationship between data and creativity, Publicis Groupe is in the midst of installing Marcel, an AI- powered networking platform that it claims will usher in “a new era of creativity and innovation” across the company.
Anyone who wants to know will have attended the session in the Lumiere entitled Marcel One Year Later: AI, Creativity And The Future Of Our Industry. Explaining how it works and why they have invested so much corporate credibility behind the project is Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun, global chief creative officer Nick Law and chief strategy officer Carla Serrano.

Speaking to Lions Daily News ahead of the session, Law sought to allay fears that platforms like Marcel are a threat to creativity: “When I joined Publicis in January this year, I was sceptical. But I’ve come to understand that Marcel should make it easier to be creative. Some creatives are worried because it’s new and others think it might be burdensome, but it will make it easier to draw inspiration and connect with talent.”

As a tagline, Law calls Marcel, created in partnership with Microsoft, “80,000 people connected. But it’s actually deeper than that because the AI piece means it will become smarter over time, as all of the daily interactions trans- late into data and intelligence.”
At a rudimentary level, he said Marcel would help “if I have a problem I need to solve for a client. I can look around the company and find out whose expertise matches what I need. Or I can create an open brief that anyone can contribute to. As Marcel rolls out, I’d expect Publicis’ work to become more innovative, broad and connected.”

Law said it was a mistake for creatives to fear the impact of data. “Data is just augmented experience and there is no creative that doesn’t get good by seeing what works and what doesn’t. My advice to creatives is don’t be scared of technology, be curious. Embrace it, experiment and gain mastery as quickly as you can because that’s where the opportunity lies. And Marcel can help you move up the learning curve quickly.”
In fact, Law’s view is that creatives and strategists should thrive on data-led disruption: “The future is exciting because we can affect the industry more now than when things were stable and you could get margins by being a tight operation. The thing that makes data powerful is creativity. That’s where the margins come from now.”

Harriet Palmer