Josy Paul: “Data is the reason to believe”

In a data-first and technology-focused industry, BBDO's Josy Paul reminds us why the human element is essential to creativity

“Creativity is sensitivity in a world where no one is listening,” shares BBDO India’s Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Josy Paul as he took the stage at Dubai Lynx.

Campaign Middle East caught up with the man behind the Grand Prix-winning campaign of Cannes’ inaugural Glass Lion, back in 2015.

Coming off his presentation, or confession as he considers it to be, Paul shares a missing factor of data – the emotional empathy.

With his trademark cap atop his head, Paul says, “I think data is looking for humanity.”

“What data does is it takes you to the door, it takes you to the data table. But it can’t tell you after what is it that we can tell each other and share with each other, which can make us feel better about ourselves. And that’s what brands do, right? It’s really about that connection which feels rewarding.”

Paul considers the reward to have an emotional side, which is something that data may not be able to help unless there is something else that works with it, like a partner. And listening is the best friend data can ever have.

“Data is not the source of the idea. It’s the reason to believe,” adds Paul. “You can find a greater truth by combining finding data with listening.”

“Which is why even large tech companies, they all have focus groups, and I say, Excuse me, I thought you have all the data. Why are you listening to consumers?”

“Original scientists were offering data but before they offered the data, they had the hypothesis.”

Paul strings in an anecdotal example of Newton to emphasize, “An apple falls from the tree. Newton suddenly realises something is there. And then they do experiments to prove that the hypothesis is true or not true. And from that comes the data.”