Agency Idea Machine


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As crowdsourcing is becomes more mainstream, how should agencies respond to stay relevant? Ideas. Get back to ideas, but not just ideas in our same advertising space–expand beyond "what we do."

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Agency Idea Machine

  1. 1. Creating the Idea Machine An agency response to crowdsourcing.
  2. 2. What it is open, free-form, entrepreneurial, passionate
  3. 3. What it isn’t controlled, dictated, top-down
  4. 4. Idea machine It’s not limited by “what we do,” because the walls of macro-specialization are falling. Now, we’re doing micro-specialization—a strategic focus on multiple, possibly unrelated specialties. Image credit:
  5. 5. Who’s doing it?
  6. 6. “ Then we built Field Notes. … it’s in a hundred stores and we sell hundreds of orders every day online. … we wanted to have half of our revenue come from things that we owned, as opposed to work-for-hire.” -Jim Coudal From the excellent interview at Design Glut Link:
  7. 7. “ We have this thing called Layer Tennis which is a live design event on Fridays. We actually created it way back in 2001 as a total goof. Then we were dealing with Goodby out in San Francisco on some work for Adobe. They needed something to promote CS4. So we brought Layer Tennis back, and offered it as a sponsorship. In a way Adobe is our client, except rather than us selling our services to them, they’re sponsoring this thing we created.” -Jim Coudal Link:
  8. 8. “… we realized that there was no interesting packaging available for CDs and DVDs. They were all crap, like the plastic boxes that you have at Blockbuster. it was so hard for us to find a nice case, maybe other people were having this problem. That was the beginning of Jewelboxing this really sweet system for doing a short run of DVD or CD packaging. We launched it, and we made 13 sales on the first day. We thought, “Maybe we’re on to something!” All of a sudden Jewelboxing became the big business.” Link:
  9. 9. “ People always ask, “What is your greatest failure?” I always have the same answer – We’re working on it right now, it’s gonna be awesome!” -Jim Coudal Link: Other Examples
  10. 10. They’ve been melting faces in the Mile-High design community, but they’re on this list for their nevercloud™ project. If you’re don’t speak awesome, that logo is Cypher13.
  11. 11. Nerd-cred From Nevercloud is a cloud hosted CMS with an ultra-light extensible framework promoting elasticity and infinite scalability. Scale your projects infinitely and put the nevercloud’s robust application stack to work for you. nevercloud™ a partnership between Cypher13 and Quick Left Of course it has nothing to do with “what they do” as a design boutique, but it fits in beautifully with who they are and their clients.
  12. 12. Well, to a certain extent. They’re still in the model of shock and awe advertising. But, lately they’ve been expanding and creating “stuff” that stretches the brand message beyond traditional advertising tactics. See Burger King Xbox game and King costumes as examples. the Lightening Round Famously home of the 20% program, where a fifth of your time can be spent on side projects. Since its inception Gmail, Google News, and AdSense have come out of the 20% program. More
  13. 13. Because people, who are not you, are doing it. And because agencies are generally filled with smart, creative people. Engage their entrepreneurial spirit, expand beyond “what you do.” Own your creativity. Why ?
  14. 14. We’re in unprecedented times where a thought can be broadcast around the world in seconds by anyone. Crowdsourcing 500-pound Mad Men-eating lion in the room. If you need another reason
  15. 15. Say what you will, but these are not the crowdsourced ads we made fun of in 2007. More people have access to express their creativity. No longer is the ability to produce quality video the sole domain of agencies. To quote Ad Age’s Bob Garfield, “Uh-oh.” Links: The technology barrier is shrinking.
  16. 16. Agency Mea Culpa Links: Design & Writing no longer ruled by ad agencies . Hard to turn a blind eye when we’re part of the group sending projects to crowdsourcing. After a small army of CP+B interns failed to produce a successful logo for Brammo, the agency used Crowdsourcing for the answer. What you see above is the winner. Skills like design and writing are increasingly becoming commodities. What is going to separate agencies and show their worth are ideas.
  17. 17. Oh Shit. You’re not just competing against other agencies any more. Read on. Links: Unilever drops Lowe after 16 years for crowdsourcing.
  18. 18. Links: Read this. Twice. <ul><li>their (Lowe) great work has created a problem for them, because it makes Peperami the obvious candidate for crowdsourcing.” </li></ul><ul><li>Matt Burgess, Brand Manager </li></ul><ul><li>“… (we’re) confident taking our brief out to thousands rather than a small team of creatives will provide us with the best possible idea and take our advertising to the next level. </li></ul><ul><li>-Noam Buchalter, Marketing Manager </li></ul>“ ”
  19. 19. What now ?
  20. 20. Create stuff that goes beyond traditional advertising to make life easier, better, or more entertaining. And, if someone is kind enough to engage in your idea, take them down the rabbit hole. If you leave them wanting for more then they’ll find something else. The Switch Image credit:
  21. 21. im Start your idea machine. See where it takes the agency. Give people the freedom to experiment outside of their normal projects. You never know what they’ll come up with. You Gotta Start It won’t be pretty. You may need a jump start along the way, but… Image credits: