By 21 May 2018 | Categories: Misc



Big data is no longer the future, but rather ‘the now’ and it is the driving force behind the appointment of highly regarded and internationally recognised, David Uribe, as Regional Data director for Africa and the Middle East at advertising and communications group TBWA\.

There is “everything to do and not enough being done” on harnessing data in emerging markets, says Uribe, who is a key driver of data practice adoption within the collective. “We are at a critical juncture where data is the new playbook and it is rewriting the rules,” he says.

10 Steps Ahead

Uribe, who recently published his first book, titled “101 Tips to Improve Your Social Media Presence”, says significant change is coming and early adopters will be “ten steps ahead”.

Real-time analytics provides complete autonomy over decisions and at one click of a button the full reach of a campaign is brought into sharp focus – with any shortcomings rectified before they do damage. Real-time dashboards deliver a broad vista of tailored analytics quickly and efficiently, while software linked to predictive analytics can drastically improve business outcomes.

“Predictive analytics is a game-changer and we are already seeing a 91% accuracy rate in the predictions on advertising content via the models we are testing,” says Uribe. He calls personalisation the “holy grail” of the industry – to truly know each client, their likes and dislikes and to then sell a personalised solution. “We can only then claim to be true partners to our clients. Harnessing this intelligence eradicates advertising as an intrusion and turns in into a highly educated decision in strategy,” he says.

Clearing the Fog

“Using the very logical weapons at our disposal we can compare rainbows to rainbows and not rainbows to apples, which was the previous illogical way the industry worked. In fact, for the first time in the history of advertising we are speaking the same language as our clients – and data is the dialect. When clients understand what we say we gain a major competitive advantage,” says Uribe.

Data may well be the new textbook of business and communication but change this big needs to come from within through education and awareness. 

One of Uribe’s first initiatives has therefore been to launch D\Learn, a TBWA\Africa initiative aimed at employees who are part of the collective. Drawing on both Uribe’s experience as the co-founder of, one of the largest online education platforms for Spanish speaking audiences today, and his long-time professorship at the Miami Ad School, D\Learn is an e-Learning platform designed as a means of scalable upskilling within TBWA\. “Education is close to my heart and there is no better way to expand the reach of knowledge than by using digital pathways to drive home key messages that make a difference,” he says.

Another reason for Uribe’s decision to join the Africa and Middle East team is because this is one of the group’s fastest growing offices in the world. “I work with people and not for companies and in TBWA’s Johannesburg office I have some of the best minds in the industry to explore new ideas as we embark on this exciting journey together,” he says.

CEO of award-winning collective TBWA\South Africa, Sean Donovan, welcomed Uribe on board and is excited about the opportunities to be grasped in an increasingly data-led world. “Data disruption is upon us and we need to adapt quickly to stay ahead and ensure our clients have the edge. We are therefore boosting our capability and putting data at the core of our operations. To have access to David’s unique skill-set is incredible. He is not just a data scientist, but he is what I like to refer to as a true human-insight-miner whose raw material is data. It is a pleasure to welcome one of the world’s leading minds on data and digital advertising to our team as we drive innovation and client-centric solutions,” says Donovan.

The TBWA\ group includes the advertising agencies TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris and OpenCo, strategy and research agency Yellowwood, brand specialists Grid Worldwide, public relations agency Magna Carta and specialist marketing agency HDI Youth Marketeers.

Uribe has a degree in science in advertising, a master’s degree in digital business from the University of Barcelona, a certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Big Data Analytics and a diploma from Harvard Business School in Digital Strategy.

“There has been a lot of waste in the advertising world and many corporates are frustrated. Data provides the insight to totally change the paradigm. Agencies that do it properly can now be ten steps ahead of the competition,” concludes Uribe.



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