Slap And Paste Advertising On The Rise

Brandweek is running a bit of a scare piece on a new crop of companies offering à la carte marketing services.

Companies like Spot Runner, PayPerPost, PayPerClip, Current TV, BrightCove, BrandWizard, Google’s AdSense for radio and newspapers, and, yes, YouTube, now offer cheap, fast, online commercial creation, media placement and public relations services without the need for a traditional full-service agency. And they come at a fraction of the cost of Madison Avenue. Call it the commodification of creativity.

The article points out that it’s not merely firms with limited means that are looking for new sources. Major clients are already experimenting with nonagency commercials. Alka-Seltzer, Frito-Lay, the NFL and Chevrolet have all commissioned spots created by amateurs to run on Super Bowl day, for instance.
So, should agency types be shaking in their Kenneth Cole boots? Not just yet. These firms are not the new Craigslist–the company blamed for upsetting the newspaper industry’s classified advertising cart. While there may be certain areas of the agency business that can be commodified, creativity derived from strategic insight isn’t one of them.

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. You are absolutely correct, these companies lack creativity, but don’t completely discount the gullibility of the entrepreneur or small businessperson. They’ll go for what they think is cheap and controllable rather than that which is really inexpensive and effective. Spotruiner is, in my opinion, the best example of a lack of creativity combined with a business model that counts on initial customer laziness and gullibility. This company is so slack that they used the established and award-winning trade name as the headline for a VNR posted on and elsewhere. The spotruiner model counts on small businesspeople not reading their fine print: that they’ll add fees to the network air time rate, that you can’t air anywhere BUT their overpriced system, that they’ll rent your ad to your competitor in your same town should you stop airing with them.
    By comparison the agency whose trade name they usurped, Cheap-TV-Spots, produces fully custom air-anywhere ads for one low flat rate. They also may be the only online TV ad agency that commits to returning all additional network air time discounts to their clients. Though was the world’s first international internet-based TV ad agency, it does not use look-alike templates like the hacks (my opinion again) at spotruiner. Memorable custom flat-rate ads with extremely fast turnaround is what does best. That’s why they’ve won over 50 international awards – they’re real people with real creativity and business sense.
    No, Madison Ave has nothing to worry about from the likes of spotruiner – but many small business won’t ever grow into mid-sized or larger businesses when they are fooled into getting too little and paying too much for a look-alike, template-based, commoditized, anti-branding ad… and burning up their hard-earned cash in the process. That is the saddest thing – the contraction of business caused by this type of venture-funded bait as the penny-wise entrepreneur is bled. My hope is that small businesspeople will see that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, and turn their backs on the know-nothing commoditized hypesters like the spotruiner. It’s just too much Silicon Valley slip-of-the-hand, and we’ve all seen this before. My opinion, of course. 😉

  2. This one makes sence “One’s first step in wisdom is to kuesstion everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”