Claire Beale On Advertising: Unilever is turning to a crowd of bounty hunters

Hot news, trend watchers: the age of user-generated advertising is over. Admit it, you're relieved. Phew, you're thinking, no more ads made by lonely pubescent punters in their bedrooms – the stuff made by the pros is bad enough.

Well, sorry. User-generated advertising is only over because it's been reborn and rebranded as something altogether more significant and – if you work in advertising – something altogether more pernicious: crowd-sourcing. You can probably tell from this fashionable new name (less functional, more conceptual) that crowdsourcing has become the latest thing, darling, in advertising and marketing circles.

And this time it's serious. Instead of a bit of playful dabbling – which is really what so many marketers did with UGA – advertisers are starting to embed crowdsourcing into the DNA of their communications processes. I don't say that with the usual hyperbole of a columnist struggling for something to write about. Take Unilever. Back in the summer the global household goods company (Persil, Dove, PG Tips etc) – one of the world's biggest advertisers – decided to ditch Lowe, the advertising agency on one of its brands, altogether in favour of a full-blown crowdsourcing approach.

So the Peperami account says bye-bye to Lowe and hello to Idea Bounty. Idea Bounty describes itself as, "the simplest way to hire thousands of creatives and only pay for the ideas you want". It's crowdsourcing in its essence: advertisers post a brief, and anyone – you, me, freelance writers, illustrators, art directors, film-makers, students – can submit an idea. If your creative idea is chosen, you get paid a bounty. The Peperami brief was to "crack the new Peperami print and TV ad" and the bounty is $10,000. The winning idea will be unveiled next week. Meanwhile Unilever is looking at extending the crowd-sourcing approach to some of its other brands.

Just to prove there's a trend emerging here, a similar crowdsourcing website has also just launched, Talenthouse.com. This time it's not just big brands that are looking for fresh creative ideas but musicians, fashion designers, artists, film-makers. Again, the philosophy is that the best creative ideas can come from anywhere, and who needs all the expensive infrastructure of a traditional creative company when you can just pay per idea.

Also last week a couple of defectors from one of the world's best advertising agencies – Crispin Porter Bogusky – launched a crowdsourcing agency called Victors and Spoils that offers insight and advice but without all the expensive creatives in trainers and T-shirts. All creative briefs will be thrown into the crowdsourcing ether.

Now if I was an advertising agency, I might be feeling a little uncomfortable at this point. Victors and Spoils, Idea Bounty and Talenthouse are all owned and run by experienced creatives and marketers more than capable of offering brands advice on the right sort of crowdsourced creative approach to choose, and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional ad agency relationship. Ad agencies take note: these companies are sniffing your lunch; look the other way and they'll be eating it in no time.

Crucially, unlike the old, so often embarrassing user-generated advertising model, crowdsourcing has the potential to offer brands access to a more professional and global creative resource. Because, if UGA was really about finding new ways to engage ordinary punters with a brand, crowd sourcing is more about leveraging brilliant creative ideas from anywhere and everywhere, often from freelance or time-rich professionals.

All of which is good news for us ad consumers too because it will hopefully spell the end of all those homemade ads created by untalented punters. Who knows, there might even be some bounty in it for you.

Best in Show: Department of Health (DDB)

This week perhaps one of the most disgusting ads on TV: the Department of Health's new television commercial on swine flu. With the virus back in the head-lines it's time for us all to start thinking about how to deal with it. And that means containment. What the new campaign by DDB does brilliantly and not a little stomach-churningly, is illustrate (by use of a sort of vile green slime) how the swine flu germs are spread.

The image of a young boy slowly sucking his green, germ-riddle thumb is guaranteed to have you reaching for the anti-bacterial hand gel. And it's a powerful argument for the role of advertising.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Recruitment Resourcer / Recruitment Account Manager

£20 - 25k + Bonus: Guru Careers: Are you a Recruitment Consultant looking to m...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected