It’s the appliance of science for DDB London as data chief Islam joins from ITV

In its former guise as Boase Massimi Pollitt DDB London was one of the inventors of account planning (as it then was) and now the agency is trying to make the whole business more scientific by hiring Dr Shorful Islam from ITV as head of data at its DDB Matrix unit.

His job is to help “re-engineer the data function to provide new avenues of strategic planning to clients.”

DDB goes on: “The new data function will unlock fresh creativity by fusing web analytics, social, customer and econometrics with data vizualisation as well as innovating its own bespoke insight tools.” DDB, which is now positioning itself as an ‘integrated agency’ has recently announced a Brainlab partnership with the boffins at London’s Goldsmith University.

Islam (pictured right with DDB colleagues Les Binet and Dom Boyd), who was head of business information and customer data strategy at UK broadcaster ITV, says: “DDB is an amazing company to work for, with a range of interesting and exciting clients. I look forward to working with them and apply the magic of data to creativity.”

And it’s the creatives who might feel the need for a lie down while all this is going on, muttering that coming up with ideas is difficult enough with a clean slate let alone even more data interpretation.

But the sad fact is that the world is awash with the stuff and, just as planning was invented in part to give agencies control over research, a convincing data offering (particularly involving social media) is now deemed essential to keep clients onside.

DDB London has had a choppy time recently, producing some outstanding work but failing to land many big new accounts. One of its biggest, £36m Virgin Media, is up for review now and the agency has done well to make it down to the last two alongside Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Adam & Eve and Mother being eliminated.

Virgin, like its big rival Sky, has a huge investment in direct marketing so DDB will be hoping that Dr Islam and his chums at DDB Matrix can make the agency’s data offering that bit more compelling.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.