Monday, August 16, 2010

Is This Crowdsourcing??

Lots of talk going on today about the new 'crowdsourced' Peperami ad for Unilever. It's the usual stuff for the brand, decent if not amazing, but for me the biggest news is how it was created.

Unilever keep stating it was 'crowdsourced' to save on paying the retainer costs of an ad agency, an idea put out to the general public, and the best ad was made and will be shown.


The character, the campaign idea and the strapline already existed. Created for by a paid, retained ad agency team and tried and tested over a long period of time. The only part of this ad that was actually put out to the public was the script for this execution.

Now let's add to this the fact that the winning team was a pair of ad execs shall we? Open up the general public to submit their ideas, and in the end the best one came from two ad folk... hardly suggests a response worth publicising does it? It ends up looking like a piece of tight budget cutting instead of a real attempt to let people take control of your brand.

[Update - As Charles mentions in the comments, it's definitely a case of a PR brief . However the fact it was won by an ad team using an agencies' campaign idea makes me think the PR isn't actually that great.]

Why did they (seemingly) not look at finding a smaller agency that could offer a lower cost without losing the planning and creative skill sets from the brand? How about one of the many talented non-London agencies, with no Central London rent costs? It annoys me that none of this appears to have been considered, an apparrent case of 'Big London agency or nothing', even when they are openly trying to reduce costs.

I suspect it's for the same reasons that the ad wasn't truly crowdsourced... it would have needed risk taking to change the campaign. But smaller/cheaper/non-london agencies (Like the one I work in) would love to work on a brand like Peperami; we would all work like crazy to make great work and would be much much lower risk than real crowdsourcing of a new campaign.

I have nothing against the idea of crowdsourcing, and absolutely nothing against Unilever or Peperami, I just want accuracy. If we are going to talk about crowdsourcing, can we not do so when we really just mean 'hiring freelancers' please.


Charles Edward Frith said...

You're missing the point of advertising in the 21st century my friend. It's a PR brief.

They just got the best of both words for very little. Not saying it's right but this example isn't egregiously wrong either though others will be in the future as the rules mutate and tolerance is tested.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Oh I agree entirely. That's why I mentioned that awarding the ad to two ad execs makes it hardly seem worth publicising. My problem is that it's almost fake PR to an extent; there is very little crowdsourcing involved (unlike say Dorito's where the whole creative concept is sourced).

This is just freelancing a script for an agencies' campaign.

Cheshire Cat said...

I see Durex are the latest to jump on the crowdsourcing trend.