A lot has been written over the past couple of years about user-generated content (UGC), whereby consumers contribute to brand and product marketing messages by blogging, tweeting, posting comments, or perhaps even shooting their own Super Bowl-worthy video testimonials. For a sample of how we feel about UGC at Lairig Marketing, read here.
Only recently has the term “crowdsourcing” come into vogue, probably because it sounds more cerebral and less literal than UGC. You can consider crowdsourcing the sum of all UGC on a particular topic, anything from giving a company ideas on what charity it should donate to (see Pepsi) to a societal revolution (see Egypt).
But you don’t hear about one application all that much – the use of crowdsourcing by marketers to develop advertising. The poster child for this trend is an “agency” called Victors & Spoils, who, in its own words, is an ad agency…
“…that utilizes technology and abundance to make great work for brands without raping the living beejeesus out of them in the process in the cost department.”
This definition makes it plain that the V&S value proposition is cheaper and faster creative development. That is the cost side of the equation, one that doesn’t make any sense as an area of focus this far up the marketing campaign lifecycle. If you want efficiency, try laying off a couple of senior managers, or find a print shop that can knock out a ton of post cards at two cents less per thousand.
The true Creative value proposition should be developing a sustainable, aspirational expression of the brand that draws consumer interest like moths to a flame. And on this score, Victors & Spoils has no leg to stand on. Let’s take its one-time client DISH Network as an example.
V&S crowdsourced some astronaut-themed spots last year to announce DISH’s introduction of free high-definition TV (“free HD for life”). Think what you want of the spots “creatively,” but DISH quickly followed those up with non-Victors & Spoils work featuring the company’s boring CEO. Shades of Sprint’s Dan Hesse. Here is today’s nugget: when a company trots out its CEO in TV spots, it is a sure sign of “sh*t, our previous brand work is f*cked.”
Crowdsourcing should give more value, not cut more costs.