Who needs a data map, a spot of joined up thinking and a healthier population when you can promote cheap ‘donuts’ on your website?

As most people know, I’m not the biggest fan of data.

Data, for me, is a means to an end – not an end in itself.

Most of the time, data is a different means by which we visualise a story. But I – being lazy – still want someone to tell me what the story is. I want a P2P relationship with my story-teller… I don’t want that relationship to be with a data stream. Or a data map. However pretty.

I still want to know what the story is. I want a human face to my data.

I’m not smart enough to work out what the story is via the data alone.

But, in certain instances, data can be a means to another end… it can, for example, be a means to save local and central government £000s in mis-spent health advertising. Data can – with the appliance of a little joined up thinking – actually earn local governments £000s *if* people started to see a few bigger pictures.

This was interesting… yet another data map from The Guardian… this time using the data from the regional health observatories to deliver a health ‘map’ of England.


Lovely. Nothing you couldn’t have done in January, 2009, when we first went round this particular block…


Two and a bit years later, let’s try this again…

The map at the top is the county of Norfolk. It is a map of ‘Early Deaths From Heart Disease and Stroke’. And shows, clearly, that the county has a medical ‘issue’ in that regard in Norwich and in Yarmouth. Where twice as many people are likely to die earlier from heart and stroke conditions than in the ‘greener’ ‘burbs to the richer south and north of Norwich.

None of which should come as any great surprise, but after we’ve now all data-mined the local GPs’ surgery data, there it is in black and white. Or rather yellow, red, green and orange.

So, I – as a Department of Health advertiser - know that what little that’s left of my former COI ’spend’ is better targetted into Norwich and Yarmouth than it is into Cringleford. Or Reepham.

Now if I am a publishing platform that covers the county of Norfolk – and has access to both such data and does ‘the circuit’ with the local big-wigs on the Primary Health Care Trust, I could open up my web-space and allow them to drop their ads in front of the appropriate audience.

If, of course, I had a simple, transparent ad platform that would enable me to do this.

Local Primary Health Care Trust gets to better target its message…

Residents in Norwich and Yarmouth get ‘exposed’ to the appropriate messaging and – ideally – their life expectancy *might* be seen to rise on the back of the right educational messaging…

The burden on the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital declines…

And Norfolk County Council starts to make a few quid out of appropriately targetted advertising now that it has taken the first step in that regard by opening up ad space on its pages…

Which it is. Hurrah…


Amongst ads for the London School of Business, they are also dropping in Groupon ads…

And look, you can now get 70% off burgers and 60% off ‘donuts’ – all being promoted courtesy of Norfolk County Council’s own website.

A triumph.

Still, keep the NNUH in customers from Yarmouth for the forseeable.

And who needs decent ways and means of targetting appropriate health messaging via all that gold-dust data when you can promote cut-price ‘donuts’ to your community…

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