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Heart and mind: Dick Van Motman at Ad Summit Pilipinas

On the first day of Ad Summit Pilipinas, Dentsu Aegis network’s Dick Van Motman made a case for ‘enlightened romanticism’ in his presentation ‘Spinoza, Voltaire and Isaac Newton – Meet Don Draper’.

Van Motman drew parallels between the age of enlightenment and the present day. “History has a nasty tendency to repeat itself,” he said, explaining that the 17th-century movement valued reason and individualism over tradition, in much the same way that traditional broadcast today is being replaced by big data (reason) and targeted advertising (individualism).

“We all want to find the holy grail. How can we make big data more meaningful?” Van Motman asked. “We might not be looking at the right stuff. Brands and agencies need to become enlightened.”


However, Van Motman warned against too much thinking and not enough emotion. “The mind is a lonely hunter. Heart and mind need to work together to create an impact,” Van Motman said. “It can be misleading when we let the mind overtake the heart,” he said.

Brands must find the balance between reason and emotion, Van Motman said. “That’s why we have a conscience. You can’t just do things from a very clinical way, and you can’t just do things from an emotional way,” he said, warning against relying too much on big data. “In some cases, big data gives a lot of answers, and it makes for better decision making… but big data on its own is not the answer. At the end of the day, as people say, you have a product and you have a brand, and the difference is the intangible that comes from a whole set of values, a whole set of emotions,” he said.

Van Motman talked about Dentsu’s belief that it’s about moving business by moving people. Simply put, Van Motman said this means getting a reaction out of the consumer. “The way to move them is via a combination of factors. Whether they be rational or emotional, functional, the trick really is how you move the consumer. How do you do that? It’s in the mind, and in the heart,” he said.

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