Thursday, August 2, 2012

Data vs. Dada.

Yesterday I had one of those conversations with a "data-ist." Not a dada-ist, that I could understand. A data-ist.

A data-ist is someone who has "data" that proves whatever they say. Chapter and verse. The only thing they never question is where the data comes from.

Years ago I was sitting in a meeting where we were told Coke was the most valued brand in the world, IBM was second and The Learning Channel was third. The account guy asked rhetorically, "the Learning Channel?" and I blurted, "they paid for the study."

But back to yesterday's meeting.

I was told by the dataist that QR codes really are the real deal. They're working for Macy's who's incorporated them into their logo.

OK. I said. People might use them if they think they're getting 40% off.

Have you ever scanned one?

But but, the dataist stammered, I have the data.

We know better than this.

But dataists insist data trumps logic.

Why, because we want to, at our very core believe in magic. We want to believe that tiny ads work. That "content" syndicated can be delivered virtually free. We want to believe we can get something for nothing.

If you really believe the world works that way, I have a bridge to sell you.


burny said...

I always have this argument, and I always say the same things. 'Have you ever…'

Then its just a blank face looking back. It amazes me that no one ever starts off by thinking this way.

KL said...

There are valid points here, and at least one classic flaw. Data is essential, interpreted intelligently. There are such things, especially concerning human behavior, that are completely counterintuitive. On the other hand, Burny would have us survey a sample of coworkers and friends and assume they have the same lifestyle, interests, income and media consumption habits as the target audience. This is how you end up with creative that looks like it was targeted at other creative directors and might win awards but doesn't sell anything.

Anonymous said...

I'm a media person and abide by the maxim "What's the story behind the numbers?". When 60% of the market likes hot coffee and 25% likes cold coffee, then it doesn't mean that there's a 15% share of the coffee market for lukewarm coffee....