What We Find at the Intersection of Data and Creativity

The pursuit of great ideas rooted in technology

This essay is part of Data + Creativity 2020, a Muse by Clio insight report exploring that critical intersection in marketing—and how to leverage it to create more impactful work. Click here to download the full PDF report of 12 essays, or here to read them on the Muse site.

We are investing a lot behind technology to improve guest service. So things like mobile order and payment, delivery and loyalty, among others, have been a focus for our brands.

We were able to create some very successful projects by leveraging the data of some of these platforms and tapping into the creative power of our agency partners. Projects like "Whopper Detour," "Traffic Jam Whopper" and "Lockdown Whopper" live at the intersection of data and creativity. "Traffic Jam Whopper," for instance, consisted of the Burger King brand making deliveries to cars stuck in traffic jams in Mexico.

Mexico has some of the worst traffic in the world. We saw that as an opportunity. But to tap into that opportunity, we had to analyze live traffic data to evaluate how the gridlock moved through the day, then link the service to restaurants that were close enough to do the delivery.

We also had to use the latest APIs from Google to be able to identify a moving target to do the delivery. And as if that were not enough, we used digital out-of-home focused on the areas around the gridlock. So even our media planning required a live stream of data in order to work.

The results were fantastic. We were able to surpass all fast-food brands when it comes to app downloads and dramatically increased our delivery business.

Embracing data during the pandemic

The pandemic has had unprecedented effects in our industry. In many markets, restaurants were completely closed for quite some time. In the U.S., we had our dine-in closed for a long time in most places. These market dynamics accelerated even further the need for digital channels like delivery, curbside pickup, and mobile order and payment (contactless).

In our case, we were already investing lots of resources on these fronts. And we truly believe creativity can be a source of competitive advantage. So, naturally, the pandemic accelerated even further the use of digital, data and creativity in everything we do. I think marketers can try to be ahead of the curve when it comes to this by trying to do some initiatives that truly stretch their brand/ company capabilities. I tend to call this approach "Stretch and Learn."

"Whopper Detour" gave us outstanding results. But one of the most important results we had with that activity relates to how much our entire team learned in the process of making it happen. The technological and knowledge gains that humanity had by landing a man on the moon had an impact that was way beyond just that mission. So trying a moonshot every now and then can help marketers be ahead of the curve.

Many of our most exciting ideas come from the intersection of data and creativity. Creativity can maximize the impact of technology. We will continue to innovate, we will continue to try new things, and we will continue to push the boundaries of the industry when it comes to that.

What excites me the most about this are the results. We were able to accomplish results which would be impossible had we not merged our data-driven approach with great creative.

Profile picture for user Fernando Machado
Fernando Machado
Fernando Machado is global chief marketing officer at Restaurant Brands International.

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