Monthly Archives: May 2009

Can Quality Creative Really be Crowdsourced?

Crowdsourcing creative is fast becoming a part of the design marketplace.

For those unfamiliar with crowdsourcing creative, it’s a way of throwing out a project to a worldwide pool of persons who practice a particular discipline, say graphic design, and in return you get creative submissions from artists with a wide range of experience levels and talent. You choose which concepts to pay for and negotiate a price. The turnaround is fast, and you wind up with lots of submissions to choose from.

While at first glance, it may seem like a foolproof and cost-saving way to get your creative done, but there are a few pitfalls you will want to avoid.

Get genuine original creative. When you crowdsource, you never know from where the artist or writer drew his/her “inspiration”. Be sure to have the artists certify in writing that the materials they provide to you are original to them. When in doubt, make sure your legal team earns their keep.

Not all submissions can be treated as equal. You may receive submissions from a hack, to an art school drop out, to an art director with twenty years of experience. Crowdsourcing is like Forest Gump’s big box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

You will need to do a comprehensive and fully explanative creative brief. The old saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out,” certainly applies to crowdsourcing. This is where agency experience and expertise alleviates this pain point.

Don’t expect wonderful work. Unless the submitting artist has intimate knowledge of your brand, marketing challenges, and assesses your needs in professional consultation, you will most likely wind up getting results based on guesswork and whimsy. This is why so many professionals shy away from spec work. You simply can’t produce on-target creative without full development and consultation.

Some marketers report that crowdsourcing creative has worked well for some projects. And there are plenty of successful websites offering this concept to substantiate the results. Artists that I know who have participated in the process report that it is like doing spec work on steroids, where the number of submissions for a single logo project may number into the hundreds, and the artist gets paid less than minimum wage for the amount of time they put in on the job, that is if the submission is even picked.

Crowdsourcing is here to stay. It will be up to each marketers ability and conscience to determine if / when crowdsourcing creative should be employed.

What do you think about crowdsourcing? Comment below.

Author: Timo Matero, Founder – Director, Accelerator Advertising, Inc.