Crowdsourcing attracts the best advertising clients, and it all began with a tweet…


John Winsor, founder of Victors & Spoils, the world’s first crowdsourced agency, gave the opening keynote at our Future of Crowdsourcing Summit in September last November.

It was fascinating to hear about how he had brought together an extraordinarily talented distributed team, and convinced major brands such as Harley-Davidson, GAP, Levi’s, and Virgin America to use a crowdsourcing approach.

Harley-Davidson moved on from its long-standing agency Carmichael Lynch last year, shifting to Victors & Spoils for its creative work. The first work from the agency for Harley-Davidson, based on an idea from “passionate amateur” Whit Hiler, has just been launched:

AdAge interviewed Harley’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer, who said about the ad:

We’re really happy with the way it came out. “Cages” is a concept that comes out of the motorcycle lifestyle … typically it meant no cars. But the crowd and Victors & Spoils took “cages” and make it more about liberation from your boring life. We liked that expansion of the idea — it started with an insider motorcycle idea and they did a great job of finding a bigger idea. …We think it validates our new creativity model, which is centered on sourcing ideas from customers or consumers through Victors & Spoils. We showed this work at a dealer show in Orlando and global dealers were high-fiving and [saying] it’s terrific.

Harley wasn’t initially sure about the crowdsourced approach so started cautiously:

We’re willing to take risks but you want to mitigate those. So we ran through the [V&S] process a couple times on some lower-level stuff … put a couple lower-level creative briefs in the system to see what we’d get and were so impressed with the quality of that work, the expansiveness of the ideas that we became comfortable this would be a workable model.

As with all good things these days, Harley’s relationship with Victor & Spoils began with a tweet, notes Richer:

[John Winsor] tweeted and said, ‘Hey Mark-Hans we’re working on Harley-Davidson.’ [Victors & Spoils announced on its blog in September that it had put out a brief to its crowd of creatives to come up with ideas for the Harley brand.] That became the first test — he put a specific brief out there. I was intrigued with the model and surprised at how good it could actually be. Victors & Spoils has some talented people who can, as they call it, curate ideas.

While many think that crowdsourcing is about cheap labor, there are many crowdsourcing models that are based on tapping a pool of the most talented people in the world, trumping any organization that relies only on their staff.

As I wrote in a piece on The emergence of crowdsourced agencies: The success story of Victors & Spoils, Winsor says:

We’re picky. Because the Victors & Spoils Creative Department must and will maintain a level of talent that’s second to none.

And if you bring together that talent, you can beat the best agencies in the world to attract the most desirable clients.