Look Out, Your Job Is About To Be Crowd Sourced

Phil Johnson is identifying scared cows and leading them to the slaughterhouse.
Here’s an interesting specimen…

3. Traditional Creative Departments
The third sacred cow is the sanctity of the advertising creative department. Concepts like crowd sourcing have begun to move creative development beyond the walls of the agency. Just look at business models like CrowdSpring that let companies use the web to go directly to the creative community and post creative assignments with a cash prize. Ideas like this have the potential to change the economics of how agencies sell their creative work. While these new models may not threaten the established order today, they point to a new way of thinking. Personally, I think CrowdSpring is perfect for small and independent agencies that want access to a greater creative community.

That’s high praise for CrowdSpring. I don’t know what to make of CrowdSpring. It’s nice that design services can be had for less, making the designed environment better for all. But it’s hard for me to see how devaluing the currency is a good thing. Logos, for instance, don’t cost $100. Not logos that live up to the test of time.

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. Was the “scared cow” in your opening sentence deliberate? It’s funny. Technically, the Nike swoosh was designed for about $35, although Phil Knight later rewarded the original designer with company stock, I think. Anyway, I would hardly say CrowdSpring points to a new way of thinking. Consumer-generated ads have been popular for quite some time. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that isn’t awful. Then again, the standard fare from typical agencies these days is pretty awful too. There are too many scared cows in the agency hallways.

  2. Stu Sutcliffe says:

    Regardless of their creative sourcing, one thing will not change;
    Bad clients will get bad work. Good clients will do good work.
    Neither is a price-sensitive condition.

  3. Bad clients don’t kill great ideas. Bad agencies let them. And the really bad agencies don’t even bother showing up with great ideas.

  4. Stu Sutcliffe says:

    Hat’s off to you Baddy. You’ve had a far different (and better) experience than I have.

  5. Sacred, scared…they’re cows.

  6. “Bad agencies let them.”
    Ah, if it were only that simple. Great ideas get killed by clients of great agencies every day for one reason or another. Great agencies stay great by accepting it and coming back with better ones. Hence the 24/7 work week at many such places. And the slew of junior creatives/divorced people you’ll find there. No need to mythologize it or turn it into a lame platitude. Just takes a lot of work. And some talent. But also A LOT of work.

  7. Bad clients are bad clients. They’ll destroy spirits at will – especially when they’re brand manager is looking at them to justify they’re job.