Why Would Crispin Turn To Crowdsourcing? Ask Drummond.

Colin Drummond heads up what is traditionally known as account planning at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. He also believes in the power of crowdsourcing (a topic we took up during last night’s BeanCast).
On his blog-like-thing, Drummond argues:

Be afraid. Be very afraid. OK, if you don’t want to be afraid, at least understand how big this is. The reason it’s spreading is because it’s working. Sure, you have to sift through a lot of the crappy ideas you get, but there are some good ones in there. Actually, not just good ideas, REALLY good ideas.

Thankfully, in the comments on his post he adds a key piece of information:

In our world, we have 2 assets that make creativity a usable commodity: the strategy and the creative director. Between the 2, we have the necessary filters to identify cool work that will work.

In other words, crowdsourcing in the hands of Crispin is a good thing–it’s a rabbit hole for professional ad people to stick their paws into.
Over on fellow Crispinite John Winsor’s site, the discussion continues.
Ed Cotton of Butler Shine & Stern comments:

It can certainly happen–Unilever just moved its Pepperami account in the UK from Lowe to the consumer…However, it’s not as easy as it sounds…It needs good production skills, the right incentives and the right brand.

I’ll look into this Pepperami case, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that some of the top people in the business recognize that crowdsourcing can be an aid and/or a disruptive competitive force.
In last night’s BeanCast conversation I said crowdsourcing is here to stay, but it’s not a threat to the agency business. My reasoning is that clients get the work they deserve (and can afford). If a small business can only spend $500 for a logo, crowdsourcing might be a good option. But such scenarios have little to do with the agency business, where $500 won’t even buy lunch for the team.
Another important distinction that we talked about last night is the fact that putting a project out for a bid to thousands of participants (as Crispin just did on behalf of Brammo) is not the same thing as gaining wisdom from the crowd. It’s merely a contest and it’s not open source.
WordPress is a great example of a product that is built and continually improved via wisdom of the crowd. One hacker looks at the new code from another hacker and riffs from there, an act that’s like playing in a band. Putting a bid out for the best work at the lowest price is something totally different, but both practices tend to go by the same name–crowdsourcing.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.