In July I disappeared from the office to spend some time in Rome. ‘On holiday?’ I hear you ask. No, I spent the week at the EACA Summer School, with advertising folk from agencies around Europe, learning new skills and working on a live client brief.
The process of getting to Rome wasn’t an easy journey in itself – PLBR held a competition with the prize being the opportunity to go to the Summer School. All we had to do was to pretend the Management Team were our clients and develop and present a communications plan to them – a pretty nerve wracking experience in my opinion. On top of this we had to explain why we think we should attend the Summer School (knowing that everyone competing would have similar reasons for going).
As you can guess, my presentation went well (although I think the give-away Smarties were the secret to success) and I was off to Rome. That was when the panic set in. You may laugh, but this was the first time that I had been abroad alone. Questions were going through my head: How am I going to get home at night? Who am I going to eat with? Blargh, am I going to have to talk to strangers? But hey, it’s all a learning curve. Right?!
From Monday to Friday, during the hours of 9–5, we attended lectures from some of the most senior and inspiring advertising professionals in the business. The topics we covered ranged from Behavioural Economics through to the Future of Digital and Mobile Creativity. Out of working hours, we slaved away on our pitch presentation – although that’s all I can say due to my signing of a non-disclosure agreement!
In terms of a quick overview of what I learned, I would have to say that while all of the lectures gave me food for thought, there was one that truly sparked my interest – Big Data.
It seems to me that the more I read about this subject the more there is to learn. So, I thought I would share some of the basics I managed to pick up whilst in Rome.
Big Data is not just lots of small data. In fact, it’s not really about data at all; it is about the tools of data analysis and the knowledge that can then be ascertained. After all as Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.”
Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (equivalent to about half a billion HD movie downloads).
Companies who analyse these big data sets can then adapt their own products and services to better meet customer needs; optimising their operations and infrastructure, which in turn helps them to create new revenue streams. In essence, Big Data helps them to predict the future and it is something companies are willing to pay handsomely for.
We live in a world where the internet of things exists (where everyday objects have network connectivity allowing the sending and receiving of data), and we just cannot opt out of big data any more as it is in everything we do. Every purchase you make, every post you share, every device you use, your data is being collected for commercial gain, and this is a trend that will only continue.
90% of the data created in the world today has been generated within the last two years.
Now back to Rome
On the rare occasions that we managed to escape from the university campus, we were able to enjoy the World Cup – this was shown on a cinema size screen which highlighted Germany’s epic win over Brazil.
On my final night, I was able to enjoy a whistle stop tour of Rome, before resting my feet at a riverside festival – phew!
All in all, I learned so much about different Advertising disciplines as well as myself. When you find yourself outside the B&B at midnig inht with the key broken the street door lock and no one around to help you, you get a chance to embrace your creative side.