5 Examples of the Commodification of Creativity That Sound a Death Knell for Art Directors

Last Updated Sep 25, 2009 12:33 PM EDT

Unilever, PepsiCo, Brammo, Glaceau's VitaminWater and Pernod-Ricard have all recently bypassed traditional ad agencies in favor of crowdsourcing or other commodified creative processes. BNET has noted before how free design software on the web appears to be putting professional creatives out of jobs. Here are five examples of the comodification of creativity that threatens the agency and design businesses:
  1. The most dramatic example is Unilever, which fired Lowe in London from its Peperami brand in order to stage a competition among its consumers for new ad ideas. Winning ideas will receive $10,000 -- far less than Unilever would have paid an agency.
  2. PepsiCo's Doritos brand is asking its fans to create ideas for three Super Bowl spots. If all three ads claim the top three spots in USA Today's Ad Meter after the game, the creators will receive $5 million.
  3. Electric motorcycle maker Brammo recently gave out prizes of $1,000 to several amateur designers for coming up with a new company logo. (See gallery of the winning designs below.) The competition was staged by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, whose boss Alex Bogusky has previously mused about the death of professional creativity.
  4. VitaminWater created a flavor creator app for Facebook. The new flavor that gets the most votes will become a new drink.
  5. And Pernod's vodka brand Wyborowa decided to hire an offshoot of Vice magazine to handle its ads. While this is not strictly an example of crowdsourcing, check out CEO Andrew Creighton's explanation of how his company got Pernod's business: "Technology makes huge changes possible ... Cheap desk-top publishing software allowed us to launch the mag in the 90s, the internet allowed us to stream live TV to millions around the world. Essentially, when something becomes cheap and simple enough for idiots like us to use, that's when the barriers to entry disappear."
After the jump, a gallery of the winning Brammo logos.