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.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?