Steve Osborne

Would you pitch advertising/design/marketing concepts to clients?

I'm working on a business model based on involving a group of talented creatives in a cooperative environment.

Here's my question: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 low, 10 high) how interested would you be in pitching advertising/design/marketing concepts on niche briefs for a range of big and small name clients? Successful submissions would be paid a (decent) flat fee. All submissions would have the option of anonymity.

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5 Answers

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Thanks to all who've posted comments so far. Here's a bit more detail on how this might work.

The model is intended to attract concepts only, not execution ie. production would not be included in your submission. This is not a 99Designs model.

There are two levels of involvement – open briefs and closed briefs. Open (or public) briefs are accessible by all and any group member can respond. Payment would vary depending on the brief and the client. Closed briefs are by invitation only. Only those who have proven themselves on public briefs are eligible. Everyone working on a closed brief would be paid for their contribution. 

The entire model is managed by a team of experienced marketing heads. So the briefs would be well-written. This team makes the final decision as to which responses are shown to the client, so yes, you would be competing against other members within the co-operative on open briefs. However, the responses are selected on the simple basis of "best idea wins." The management team controls client communication and production.

A submission would have 3 x mandatory and one optional component. 1. a strong, memorable, two sentence headline or title that clearly conveys the idea. 2. a concise, one paragraph description covering the Who, What, When, Where of the idea. 3. the How ie. an insight into how the concept would be realised. This might include suggestions for production. 4. (optional) some sort of reference image, sketch, drawing, storyboard – whatever you felt might aid the idea.

The model does not preclude you from working with a partner(s), or from submitting multiple responses. The model is intended to induce the best ideas with the least amount of physical labour.

The idea started because we all have a massive file of rejected, unsuited or self-censored concepts. Either the client didn't appreciate their beauty/profundity/cleverness, or didn't have the budget! Whatever the reason, they they never saw the light of presentation. We wondered, what if there was a way to get some of those brilliant, but unused, ideas into the hands of businesses that needed them? Without necessarily revealing where they came from/who did them. Clients get to go outside their formal agency setups and draw from a larger pool of top talent (some of whom might want to stay anonymous because of conflict of interest issues). 

So the co-operative idea was born.

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Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall , Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

For me it comes down to teamwork and the emerging trend to outsource. If the concept is well managed the outcome for the client (and this is what we should be focusing on) has to be better.

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Thanks for your comment Neil. Yes, the model would be well managed and you're right, the outcome would definitely be better for the client.
Thanks for your comment Neil. Yes, the model would be well managed and you're right, the outcome would definitely be better for the client.
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Katherine MacPherson

If the objective is to get like-minds together in a room to deliver amazing outcomes for the client, then sure, I don't know what creative wouldn't want to be involved! A bunch of creative minds in a room may be a little bit like herding cats, but it opens the box to a broad range of possibilities for the client - especially where the experience and interest of the creatives is diverse. 

I agree that the mechanics of the model need to be explored further, but you've got a 9.5 from me. 

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Thanks Katherine, I'm glad it appeals! See outline above for more on the business model.
Thanks Katherine, I'm glad it appeals! See outline above for more on the business model.
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Nerissa Atkinson

I'd say my interest would be 6-7.

I assume things like the business development and day-to-day client management would be done by someone else leaving me to focus on the marketing strategy - that's a plus for me, and for most of the creatives I know.

But I don't necessarily understand how the model works if I submit work - I only get paid if the client likes it? Am I competeting against others in my cooperative, or is this like a 99Designs kind of model? If so, I would miss the ongoing interaction with those in my network, resent putting in hours of unpaid work for a concept which might be used anyway, and some of the best ideas actually happen in the room with clients - getting a digital brief only sometimes isn't enough.

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Great comments and observations, Nerissa. Here's a bit more basic detail as to how the model might work. Further queries/comments are welcome.
Great comments and observations, Nerissa. Here's a bit more basic detail as to how the model might work. Further queries/comments are welcome.
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Peter Doyle

Peter Doyle , Managing Director at ChangeXChange Consulting

Hi Steve

On your scale, my interest would be ...

10

Regards

Peter

Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall , Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

We would be a 10
We would be a 10
Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Thanks Peter, Neil. Your response is appreciated. Followup question: what is your primary motivator to be involved – income, contribution, satisfaction, recog... read more
Thanks Peter, Neil. Your response is appreciated. Followup question: what is your primary motivator to be involved – income, contribution, satisfaction, recognition etc? In other words, what buttons would I need to press to encourage other practitioners?
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