Alex Wadelton: They laughed when I sat down at the computer - but when I started to ideate!~

juror_detail_alex_wadelton.jpgBy Alex Wadelton (left), ECD and partner, ZOO Group Melbourne

Last week I was recommended an article on Linkedin for the crowd sourcing creative platform On it, Maltesers had posted a creative brief asking for advertising ideas for video, display or experiential. The top prize was/is USD$3000 with a total pool of $7500.

In this brave new world of user generated content, crowd-sourcing, outsourcing, and ideation in creative sand-pits, it got me thinking deeply at the future of the advertising industry.
9 (2).jpgMy first thought was, "Holy crap, we are all in trouble." Surely clients need the expertise of professionals to help guide their brands.

But then I wondered if I was being too precious, and this was in fact a genius way for clients to get heaps of ideas for next to nothing with no risk.

Should I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords?

With this confusion swirling in my head I was moved to write an ad for Crowdiate, based on the inspiration for every single click bait native ad around today- the (in)famous U.S. School of Music print ad from 1926, written by John Caples.

Maybe it will help you decide if brands getting ideas for next to nothing from hundreds of people willing to do it for the fraction of the usual cost is good or bad.

VIEW THE AD - They Laughed.pdf


Mktg Mgr said:

Did you Ideate this idea?

Alf said:

Clients always end up with the result they deserve.

Ginobli said:

Nice work with getting a 2 year contract extension

qt3.14 said:

Excellent writing. Very well done, Alex.

old news said:

Peperami in the UK dumped their agency about 8 years ago to replace them with crowd sourced creative and production. That lasted about 10 minutes...

It's all about me said:

Alex, can you just promote some real work for a change?

It would be sweet refreshment from your pointless self-promotion.

@It's all about me said:

This is a blog and a forum. Why shouldn't we welcome creative discussion? At least he puts his name to his opinions unlike you.

@it's all about me said:

@it's all about me - You are obviously a very jealous person with no idea of how to ideate. Sad advertising person.

Alex, keep up the brilliant creative work that gets people to think about how un-creative they really are.

Copy Desk said:

$3,000 USD. A month's salary for most mid-level creatives. Good enough money, if you win. But if you don't, you've burned a day or three. If you put in an hour, chances are you were never a contender.

If I was a client, the work I want is from good creatives. I don't care if they're in an agency or working at Coles Express. Trouble is, it takes time to come up with good work. Even for brilliant, undiscovered geniuses selling their levelled up characters on World of Warcraft. They still need to put time int to come up with good work.

Time. If you're working in an agency, time is fine. You know you'll be paid for your time. If you're on a pitch, you're taking a risk, but you're like four two one a shot of getting the gig. Unless you're the incumbent. Or as I like to think of it, the recumbent. Because you might as well nap it out. That joke's for sale on Etsy, by the way.

But if you're a good creative, why would you invest serious effort into something you might only have a 200 to one shot at? Doesn't add up, in terms of time, money and maths. So I would say, and I'm guessing, but probably right, the vast majority of creatives wouldn't invest their effort in entering crowdsourced creative. Not with those odds. Time's short. We've got sneakers to buy.

If it were a pitching model; creds and folio first, then territories and creative approach, I don't know, and then you were down to five people in the race before actual concepting, yes, maybe I'd be inclined. Still professional, but still crowd sourced.

I suspect companies using Crowdiate are getting pretty fair, middle of the road creative. Possibly. The truth is I don't know. But as a creative who likes money, I sure as shit am not going to invest my time in this. The numbers don't stack up.

Pay peanuts; get monkeys. With a huge following on YouTube, granted. But monkeys. Remember to subscribe.

Jimmy said:

alex, tell us why u have stayed at possibly the worst agency in Australia? U could work anywhere, surely.

Alex Wadelton said:

Hello all,

Thanks for some of the reasoned discussion. I wonder as traffic gets worse, hours at big agencies get longer, and budgets are splintered ever more and more, if more creatives will get fed up with it and try to strike out on their own.

The rewards aren't there yet, but with AI gobbling up more and more budget share, agencies are only going to get more and more squeezed. Interesting times.

@it's all about me,
you're more than welcome to look up my work at if you wish. You'll see it's filled with campaigns that were ripped apart my anonymous folk like yourself, that a lot of other people seemed to like in inverse proportion to their reception on here.

There are big plans ahead, thanks for asking. I quite like being able to see my family and create a range of things that don't fit into what multinationals are looking for. In the last year I've been able to work on art, charity, social causes, books, and more. That's quite fulfilling actually.

Oh purlease said:

Amazing how close to ideate, the word idiot sounds.

Jason Perelson said:

This is great stuff Alex. If nothing else but to start a conversation.

A platform like Crowdiate, like some of said, may not be the solution for some brands, and most definitely doesn't replace the work of creatives in agencies (either cost or benefit wise), but for the creatives, desperate for an outlet, using crowd sourced platforms (like Fiverr etc) to have an opportunity to maybe, just maybe, create something meaningful - it's tremendous.

We should be encouraging the world to try more, take risks for yourself, submit an idea, learn what it feels like to get rejected and move in, feel what it's like to win and feel validated - and if it turns someone from a Coles cashier to a new, passionate agency creative - the industry is all the better for it.

I'll make mistakes in life, stupid choices, dumb ideas and occasionally good ones - I'll have creative days, and dog shit days - and if someone on a crowdsourced platform does a better, more effective job for a brand, as a better solution than agency creatives like me - that's not the fault of the platform. It's mine.

Perhaps if we all spent a little bit more time with reflection, and a little less time with projection, we could possibly deliver better results that don't result in the need for better options.

@Alex Wadelton said:

What happened to Matt Rose?

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