Crispin Spinoff Gets On Their Harley And Rides

Crowdsourcing agency Victor & Spoils is busy doing spec work for Harley-Davidson on the heels of the company’s split with Carmichael Lynch, their agency for 31 years.
According to V&S’s John Winsor:

We love the Harley-Davidson brand (just like most everyone). And we’ve talked to a bunch of our creatives and strategists (I dare say some of the best in the world) in our 1,800-strong creative department, and H-D was also at the top of the list of the brands they most loved. So, instead of going through the typical steps of credential decks and pitches, we thought we’d try something different.
We’re getting to work.
Just yesterday, the Victors & Spoils team did some quick strategic research pulled from public sources and went ahead and wrote a very open brief. Today, we launched it on our simple work-creation platform called The Squirrel Fight. And right now, creatives and strategists from all over the world are working against your brief.

I bet you didn’t know that V&S had “a creative department” with 1800 people in it. I know I didn’t. Of course, it’s not a traditional creative department. It’s a community of creatives willing to pitch their ideas for free to agency types and their clients in hopes that they might get paid, someday.
But let’s not get lost in that. Let’s think bigger thoughts. Here’s one…is Harley’s marketing organization–used to working with one of the best ad agencies in the world–ready for something new and different? Here’s another thought…is pitching from one’s blog or Twitter stream the new three-martini lunch? In my experience, landing new business takes great ideas, but it also takes connections, phone calls, lunches, dinners and lots of cocktails.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. It’s the new devaluing of services. Think about it. You collect $5k if you come up with an idea that hauls in a multimillion-dollar account. You get nothing if V&S fails to land the business. Look at what V&S produced for Dish Network. That says it all.
    Suze Orman said: When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue what you are.

  2. Agreed. Sort of. The owners of V&S aren’t undervaluing what THEY do. Quite the contrary. They’ve identified a cheap labor pool (not a “creative dept.” as they claim) which allows them to make MORE money. It’s actually a textbook move–the capitalists don’t care what the laborers make.

  3. Yes, the creative volunteer force is undervaluing their services, and V&S is exploiting them.
    Might argue that V&S is undervaluing the industry, as they are clearly operating under different models than they came from (i.e., the V&S staffers are all ex-big agency wonks).
    BTW, seem to recall that the volunteers who hatched the Dish Network shit for V&S had to remain anonymous because they have day jobs at agencies, which might have been a conflict with working with V&S and Dish. So we’re seeing some potential unethical and possibly illegal acts here too, especially if the volunteers signed the obligatory confidentiality agreements with their own agencies.

  4. Also, to your original point about the other components to landing new business, V&S is obviously working off a brief that the client has not agreed to — which increases the unlikelihood of success.