LONDON: Big data can help produce breakthrough creative ideas that deliver on business results according to a leading industry figure, speaking as the deadline for the Admap Prize is extended to mid-February.

The 2015 Admap Prize poses the question: Does Big Data Inspire or Hinder Creativity? Entries are now being accepted up until 09.00 GMT on Monday February 16th. The contest is free to enter and there is a $5,000 cash prize to the winner.

It is judged by a panel of senior industry experts, including Marc Mathieu, svp/marketing at Unilever. Full details and an entry form can be found on the Prize website.

Warc has also held a related webinar, Data and Creativity – a Beautiful Tension…, in which Nick Nyhan, CEO of The Data Alliance, and Chief Digital Officer, Kantar (both owned by WPP), rejected the idea of an adversarial relationship between data analysts and creative.

When used correctly, he argued, data is the springboard from which a powerful and relevant creative idea can be developed.

And that is the nub of the matter – data in itself is just data and can only become a part of the creative process in the hands of someone who can straddle both areas.

Nyhan also revealed that some senior people within the WPP group of companies had strong feelings on the matter. Guy Murphy, worldwide planning director for JWT, for example, said he would never put an analyst at the table with a creative team because they do not speak the same language.

Murphy felt that a third party was needed – a strategist or account person – who could sit between the two sides and filter, position and interpret the data.

The big fear of creatives is that data is dictating what they should be doing rather than acting as a starting point. From a creative perspective, said Nyhan, data works best when it's used to inform a single-minded insight, which lays the foundations for the creative brief.

And too much data can be a hindrance. Smaller amounts of data can more quickly and clearly lead to a valuable insight.

Data is more easily accepted and recognised as valuable by creative, Nyhan said, when it is employed in brainstorming, discovery and making the kernel of an idea more relevant.

Data sourced from Warc