Need balance between big and small data: Mainardo de Nardis

16 Nov,2016


Mainardo de Nardis has been at the helm of OMD Worldwide since 2009, and having been in the advertising and marketing services industry for 36 years, 25 of which have been heading global operations of media agency networks, he is on top of the way the industry is moving, spotting trends far ahead of most others. In India this week to address industrypersons, his team at OMD and clients, he took time off to meet Pradyuman Maheshwari for an interview on video for and in text for The full interview will appear on tomorrow (Thursday, November 17).


On disruption, Brexit and the US election results being disruptors and whether the two events will impact adspends:


I think disruption is a positive word in our business because it means evolving from one situation to another and we shouldn’t be scared of change. I don’t think we know it yet in terms of Brexit and the US elections and it’s too soon to judge. The forecast for Brexit is that not too much is going to change in the short term because Brexit has not happened. Brexit may happen over the next two years if they are lucky or it may take a little longer. Yes, uncertainty is not good for our business but it does not look like it’s going to affect the advertising expenditure in the short term in UK. In the longer term, we still have to understand what is going to have the impact in Europe. On the American elections, I really don’t know because we have a president who is yet to take office. So let’s wait and see what kind of government he has and their first priorities… I think we have got to see but I wouldn’t expect any major change in the short term.


On data science and how the US election results have thrown questions as whether big data analytics work.

Ten years ago, everything was about small data. Small analysis, understanding, in depth thinking of consumers was what is reading their brain and their passion for a brand or a political party. In the past five to eight years, we have seen big data approach. I think in the future we will put big data and small data together. Big data is like electricity, you cannot live without it. We may not talk about it but we don’t talk about electricity either ,it just helps us to do everything we do. I think we need to bring back people who brought us small data and that insight and that level of depth that we need in order to match and combine the two to have big trends supported by data and deeper, in depth understanding of consumers and what they love. That was not done and both Brexit and US elections are good examples of too much data focus whereas we needed in depth understanding of consumers of that specific political product for better understanding of what was gonna happen.


Whether technology dominates the media agency business (over creativity and innovation):

I don’t know what it is but I know what it should be. It should be a good balance between what is in our heart and what is on our brain. Exactly as I said before, we need balance between big data and small data. We need balance between long term and short term, we need balance between building brands and performance especially in digital to achieve short term specific objectives. We need balance between big ideas and technology and the systems and data which will allow us to deliver that. It is never one thing or the other, it is always one thing and the other. That should be the approach. If sometimes in the past we had too much on one side or too much on the other side, we always understood that and paid the price because we need to find that balance again. I don’t think the agency’s work should only be about data and technology. It is about finding a balance which is really important for our clients to relaunch and generate profits with sales.


There’s loads more that the OMD Worldwide CEO spoke. Watch out for the Admatazz interview tomorrow (on


Nirmala:: ground floor

Mr Mainardo de Nardis

CEO, OMD Worldwide

OMD Worldwide is a leading global media communications agency, recognized for its global footprint, strategic integration and creative innovation


Since 2009 CEO, OMD Worldwide


Since 1980 working – 36 years, of which more than 25 have been as Global CEO


OMD India started in 2007


Hello, and welcome to Admatazz.


Over the last 10-odd weeks, we’ve met with a large number of biggies from India. But today we have one of the

Disruption is the buzzword in media and advertising. And we’ve seen the biggest of them all – in the form of Brexit earlier this year and now the Donald Trump election. What do you anticipate the mood to be for media spends?

disruption in India continues to be outside of digital even thought mobiles are ubiquitous

One of the spends report out just yesterday by GroupM says growth of AdEx in Britain will actually increase?

Data Science is what everyone is talking about. I’ve watched you in interviews also talk of the new reality. But now marketers appear to be rethinking how to read consumers after the results were misread by most pollsters and the media?

I am told your New York office has more than a 100 data scientists. While media agencies are all about crunching numbers to achieve innovation and creativity, do you think your business is being taken over by the technologists?

In the new media agency order, how do you manage to get talent? Two years from now, would you see the likes of a GroupM or Publicis Media or Interbrands as competition or some other consulting or number-crunching firms?

And my next question on this is: so does an OMD reinvent itself?

Moving to India… are you happy with hwo it is today?

You had mentioned some years back that you expect India to be amongst your Top 5 revenue markets by 2020. Is this oncourse.

I ask you this question because in a recent interview you’ve spoken about China and Latin America as the places to look at, but not India. Sob, sob!

Awards are key and the way of measuring oneself… awards are important. But in India, OMD doesn’t appear to be as aggressive on the awards circuit.


PcP study, or the recently released ‘teqknow, Checkmate, global tools… global account management programme

What are the targets that you have marked for India in 2012?

To be the benchmark of excellence for the media industry in India, and continue to be one of our star operations in the network.

50 per cent global, 50 per cent local

agency model is going to change?

so many pitches last year, how do you ensure the relationship with brands

key trans tbat will dominate industry over the next 12 months

data scientists… over a hundred in the New York office…


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