Data to Ta-Da: Ronald Ng picks 2018 Creative Data contenders


Data to Ta-Da: Ronald Ng picks 2018 Creative Data contenders

Ronald Ng

Photo credit: DPAA

Digitas Global CCO, Ronald Ng, picks his 2018 Creative Data Lions contenders.

Now in its fourth year, the Cannes Creative Data Lions is arguably one of the most prestigious categories for brands and agencies to win. It celebrates work that's inspired by truth, fueled by actual human behavior, and powered by insights. Even though there is more access to data than ever before, I must say that not enough brands have managed to connect data with powerful transformational experiences in a meaningful way. Data is everywhere but it still needs – at least for now – the human mind – blessed with curiosity, insecurity, and A.D.D. to turn all that data into... ta-da!

Our agency, Digitas, was fortunate enough to win the Creative Data Grand Prix last year for Whirlpool 'Care Counts'. Data gave us insight into the problem of school absenteeism, inspired the idea of putting washers and dryers in schools, and informed and validated the program's effects. Today we're seeing improved school attendance in 90% of participating students. Data has the power to transform brands and lives; it needs to evolve from a buzzword for agencies to rocket fuel for creativity to help more brands win.

Here are my picks of creative data gems that I hope will take home Creative Data Lions this year:

The Times of London: JFK Unsilenced
With the help of A.I., The Times of London has brought to life the final speech that JFK was meant to deliver on that fateful day in Dallas. They used technology to analyze analog recordings of JFK speeches and interviews, applying spectrum analysis tools to improve acoustic environment and match them across samples, stitching the small units of speech back together. JFK's powerful words can be heard in a 22-minute video on the Times website, giving him the opportunity to share his wisdom one last time.

United Airlines: EWR Real Time Data
Most New Yorkers think they're closer to JFK than to Newark Airport, a United hub. So the airline outfitted cabs with GPS trackers synced to live traffic data. People could literally see real-time comparisons of travel times to both airports, changing perceptions and giving customers a simple data visualization in the same vehicles people take to the airports.

Parents of Road Victims
Whoever said radio is old school obviously hasn't thought of connecting the media plan to real-time accident data. In this powerful real-time PSA series, police data will trigger a radio announcement from Parents of Road Victims every time someone is killed on the road. Radio is the perfect medium for the message, as most radio listeners are in their cars, and hearing such a message will surely have an impact on drivers.

McDonald's Weather
A Big Mac turns into a sunshine icon and a French fry dipped in ketchup is now a thermometer in this charming real-time outdoor campaign powered by weather data. A clever way to make people hungry throughout the day. Great example of dynamic content that doesn't suck.

Cleane Kleren: The Inhumane Workout
Every day more than 650,000 Cambodians work in sports garment factories, quite often in poor conditions. To measure a worker's physical condition, Cleane Kleren gave one a fitness tracker to collect data on their .88 cent/hr. job, and here's what they discovered: calories burned (2,439 calories), max heart rate (146 bpm), factory temperature (34.5 C/94 F). This shocking report inspired 10,000 people to sign a petition demanding better working conditions for factory workers in Cambodia, making fair labor conditions part of the Belgian Sustainable Development Goals program.

PFLAG Canada: Destination Pride
Here's a simple and important initiative designed to help the LGBTQ community understand the levels of acceptance in countries around the world. An algorithm collecting global data on the 6 key metrics of acceptance created these powerful flag visualizations. And more importantly, it helped the LGBTQ community avoid 'unsafe' places.

ALS Association: Project Revoice
Patrick Quinn, ALS patient and creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge lost his ability to speak in 2017. Using an algorithm that analyzed audio samples from his speeches and interviews on the internet, Quinn regained his power to speak with his own voice once again. Project Revoice is encouraging ALS patients to record their voices so this technology can clone their natural voices, if needed, in the future.

Getty Images: fiftyfifty
A beautiful idea that opens our eyes to those who are rejected, despised and discriminated – the homeless. Getty Images connected the site's download data with photographers, who transformed the homeless into stock image roles of the most searched professionals. The homeless were made visible and respectable, playing characters such as University Professors, Business Travelers and Fashion Designers. Profits from downloads will help purchase apartments to house the homeless, but the number of lives this work affects is the most important data.

Ikea Human Catalogue
This may come as a surprise to you, and I wonder if the agency submitted this into the Creative Data category. It's not the kind of machine data you'd expect, but the kind you and I consciously or unconsciously collect every day... data collected and processed by the human brain. World memory champion, Yanjaa Wintersoul (Gold Lion for Best Human Name), memorized every detail of the Ikea catalogue's 328 pages. Every Ikea product and their names, even the wall with the small doctor's eye chart next to other art on page 33. And to make it 100% authentic, Ikea organized a Facebook live event so people could test her memory of the contents in this iconic catalogue.

Ronald Ng

Ronald Ng


Ronald leads the creative charge for Digitas globally, and is at the helm of a team of creative forces fueled by a unique combination of data, technology, and storytelling. 


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