Much has been made of “crowd sourcing” ideas here in the USA ad industry lately.
Agencies have even popped up with this as their USP.
Rather than paying an expensive agency with all that fancy overhead (an agency that no longer exists btw) why not tap into the untapped creative resources online?
Which makes sense theoretically.
There is no shortage of frustrated creative talent out there.
So in theory this should be a good idea.
But anyone who runs an agency can immediately spot the flaw in this model.
“WE NEED IT TOMORROW!”
How do you crowd source that one?
I remember my old partner Scott Smith had the creative crowd sourcing idea back in 2000-2001.
And I remember thinking that it sounded like a royal pain in the arse.
Sifting throught crap ideas for days when he and I could crack it in a matter of hours?
And have actual fun doing it!
Because the truth is that having great ideas is the result of a chemical reaction.
Great personal chemistry yields truly great ideas.
Nothing beats having a highly talented and motivated team of passionate individuals in the same room at the same time, focused on YOUR problem.
And having fun in the process.
Bouncing ideas off each other.
Going to lunch together.
Generally having a jolly old time.
Because every thing else is, frankly, just a pain in the arse.
UPDATE: the lovely John Geletka responded to my post. you can read it here.
I would respectfully disagree with him that software can solve the problems I pointed out. Collaborative creative endeavors need physical proximity in my experience. Otherwise team members go off in their own disparate directions. Just as films need a director to impose a vision on a production, creative ideation isn’t a democracy. Ten people can’t have a vision. It’s always one person who has the vision.
And that’s something that gets lost in this discussion. Ideas truly are a dime a dozen, visions aren’t.
Visions are rare and precious.
That isn’t to say certain creative endeavors don’t lend themselves to crowd sourcing. Discrete tasks like logo design can be farmed out.
But thinking can’t be. Again, I’ve learned this the hard way.
Also there is the problem of nuance. the best advertising ideas are nuanced things of beauty. they are elegant intellectual sculptures, if i may be so pretentious sounding!
I personally am a great believer in the saying that out of heat comes light. and to get heat you need to have people sparking off each other and arguing and actively straining their brains at the same time toward the same goal: solving your brand’s problem.