Better, Faster, Cheaper…the future of video advertising.

Since the industrial revolution, three things have dictated the king of the hill in any given industry. Those who delivered the product and/or service, better, cheaper and faster always had an advantage over his peers. Today, nothing’s changed. In fact, the prevailing wisdom is you only really need two of these facets…any two.

In the freelance video community we have all three. As far as the advertising world is concerned, freelance creatives are the
cotton gin for the 21st century.

Contests like Doritos have demonstrated that we can definitely do it better. For several years now, Doritos opens an annual can of whoop**s on Madison Avenue, regularly shaming brands like Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Sony, etc. etc.. Through their ‘Crash The superbowl’ contest, they regularly come out on top in the industry coveted USA Today Ad Meter poll conducted annually during the SuperBowl. As freelancers, there is no debating that we have ‘Better‘ locked down. I don’t think it is mere coincidence that decided to test the Freelance waters with their own contest, after coming in dead last in the USA Today poll in the 2010 Superbowl. From the looks of the entries, it appears GoDaddy has gotten it’s moneys worth.

In 2007, Five Point Productions boasted a production budget of only $12.79 for their Doritos Commercial “Live The Flavor“, that ranked #4 in the USA Today poll. Click here to read more. This first of it’s kind freelance foray into the big boys league challenged and beat ad agencies for Coca-Cola, Fed-Ex, Taco Bell, Snickers, Bud Light, and the list goes on. These larger ad agencies don’t typically disclose how much their spots cost to produce, but I would wager a bet that none of them came close to $12.79. Yeah, I know, most of the spots we freelancers create cost a bit more than $12.79, but even at a few hundred bucks ‘per’, there is no way that the heavy hitters of the ad world can compete with us. Yeah, we definitely have ‘Cheaper‘ sewn up.

There is no question that freelancers are free to produce at a faster pace than corporate firms. Free from the decision-by-committee process that can slow things down to a snails pace, the average freelance can produce content at relative lighting speed. I shot a trio of commercials for a local shopping district three years ago and was able to knock out all spots (conception to edit) in eight calendar days. In less than two weeks from the beginning of the project, the spots were airing on local cable. The client really appreciated this. Most freelancers I know can knock out a single video project in a week or two. I am going to make an educated guess that two weeks is a tad faster than Saatchi and Saatchi rolls out it’s :30 spots. Yeah, freelancers are ‘Faster‘.

An ever expanding field of Freelance Creatives:
Though there is no hard data to back this up, I am going to guess that currently, the community of freelance creatives is doubleing every year or so. If you look at the increase in submissions these branding contests are receiving, the soft data supports this. The new acquaintances I make through the years also suggests this increase. For Example: If there were 1,000 capable freelancers in year 2006, there then were 2,000 in 2007. At 4,000 in 2008 there were 8,000 by years end in 2009. At some point the math will slow down, but right now it is clear the field is increasing.

What it means to the industry:
(The Freelancers, the Agencies, the Brands)
I can remember a time when the VCK could enter a contest and pretty much be guaranteed a finalist slot, and very often win 1st place. As the years have gone on, and the competition increases, the contest wins for the VCK are less frequent. If you guessed that this bums me out a bit, you are right. But if you also guessed that there is an upside I am thrilled about, than you have a good grasp of why I started the VCK Blog last summer.

The Thumbnail:
The volume of ‘would be commercial directors‘ is increasing. There is no debating it. Creative types of all demographic ranges who are willing to educate themselves with regard to the emerging camera/editing technology are discovering in droves, that they have something to offer the industry. Admittedly it is also encouraging many a director wannabe of lesser ability which produces a glut of content not always the highest of quality. After the chaff has been separated from the wheat though, the net effect is an increase in the volume of quality branding content. The brands are increasingly discovering this with every new contest executed on the web. This is a good thing. Right now, with the economy still in the doldrums, there are more creatives than there are contests to feed them, but in a year or two if/when the economy turns around and venture capital starts to flow more freely, there will be more opportunities than imaginable for all freelancers. Even given a continued sluggish economy over the next few years there will be brands/businesses who will be increasingly open to testing the offerings from our creative community.

Advertising is a necessary element of all business strategy regardless of a cyclical economy. The current economy only effects the volume of advertising purchased.
I tend to forecast towards the inevitable economic upswing as it represents a quantum leap in opportunities for our community.

Evolution of the agencies:
The VCK predicts that in about 10 years, the days of the $350,000.00 :30 commercial budget will be a thing of the past. Except for a few agencies with a niche, the average national quality :30 second television/internet spot will cost between $10,000.00 and $25,000.00. I think that those production companies/agencies run by smallish staffs of highly creative people with an adept grasp of technology tools, will be the norm. Sort of like the Industrial Revolution in reverse, where the small businesses devours the market share to the detriment of the monopoly. Pure and simple supply and demand.

In my own research, I have discovered there are droves of intermediate companies/brands who have wanted to purchase national quality branding content for their local/regional television media buys, websites, in-store kiosks, lobby loop-playing monitors, etc., but never have because of the prohibition of cost. This is due to change. The writing is on the wall. Sooner than later, they will enter the freelance creative market place in a volume never before experienced in advertising. The demand is there. The cost is no longer prohibitive…and the increasing supply of freelance creatives will make it all happen. EG: I produced a commercial for a Body Glove licensee (Water Filtration system that bears the Body Glove logo) that happily paid me my $15,000.00 directors fee in addition to an $8,000.00 shooting budget. It was just a matter of them discovering that Jared Cicon existed and was willing to create for them. Click HERE if you would like to see the finished infomercial.

Developing a Career:
A few weeks ago I pitched a promotional video project to the local chamber of commerce here in Claremont, Ca.. Having received decent local press for the contests I’ve won, a marketing group consisting of members of the chamber were familiar with me and ready to hear my pitch. And even though I had scored other paying advertising gigs which appeared on my resume, it was the contests that these C.O.C. members knew me from and identified me with. These contests are a very good way for creatives to build a resume and press release archives in a very short period of time, and to use that resume/archive to find work with local businesses. A promotional video for the C.O.C. may not be the most glamorous work but it keeps me doing what I enjoy and I receive a paycheck for it. You also would be surprised at the creative control local businesses will give you as opposed to a sensitive decision-by-committee high profile brand.

Recently I was contacted by winners of the Mountain Dew ‘Dew-Mocracy‘ contest. These guys (guy and girl actually), had some questions about my origins and the kind of work I am able to secure as a commercial producer. Good questions, that go to making solid plans towards a commercial film career. As a result of thier submission to the contest, Steven Wong and Jennifer Mihalyi were awarded a prize of being able to direct a genuine Mountain Dew commercial with all of the production assets available to a major brand like Mountain Dew. Wow!!! man that must have been fun. The resulting commercial is great. Steve and Jen are to be commended for their work. Check it out.

Mountain Dew is also holding a PUBLIC VOTE to determine which new flavor/commercial is best. Steve and Jen are one of three commercial directors competing for supremacy. If you have a moment, go HERE, and vote for the ‘WHITEOUT’ commercial! Please support your fellow hustling freelance peers. Steve and Jen are an example of a small production team that has had a success that can be immediately parlayed into more work. Promoting themselves to businesses in their area, utilizing the Mountain Dew resume bonanza and related press releases, could reap them real paychecks. Getting paid (paying bills) while pursuing loftier goals is an excellent career strategy. One that I also employ as the VCK.

The Advertising world in the Not-Too-Distant future…

Instead of 1,000 large ad agencies producing 5,000 :30 national quality commercial spots annually for 350K each for big budget brands…we will have 50,000 micro agencies and/or freelancers producing 300,000 :30 national quality commercial spots annually at a cost of 15K each, and for brands of all sizes throughout the world.

Sitting back and waiting for fortuitous things to happen as a result of contest victories is a shaky strategy to use as a standalone in planning a future professional career. I can tell you that from first hand experience. I don’t know about you guys, but currently I am sharpening my skills, making sure my production capability is up to snuff, and am actively promoting myself to the communities here where I live. I am already posturing myself to take my portion of the emerging market share of the evolving advertising industry. Come and join me in the kingdom.



38 responses to “Better, Faster, Cheaper…the future of video advertising.

  1. Love this post, Jared… I also love the notion you put forth (which I agree with) that in the future, production costs for mega-brands will shrink, and opportunity for freelancers will increase…

    Congrats, also, on the Claremont Chamber gig… As the contest field grows, like you, I’m finding fewer wins, so I’m also focusing on contract work a little closer-to-home… I still enter contests when time and budget allow, but I’m finding much better luck landing several smaller guaranteed-paid gigs than hanging my hopes on a single contest where I don’t necessarily know who the judges are, or what they have in mind creatively… (Not to mention a much larger pool of contestants)

    Plus, I bet you find that in very short order, some of the Chamber members who own businesses will see your stuff and come a-knockin’… And of course, then THEY have business contacts, and before you know it, you’ll have a handy lil’ client base all your own…

    See ya!

    • Hey Brett,
      Thanks for coming by the kingdom. Always good to hear from you. And by the way, thanks for your assistance in helping me brainstorm ways to pitch local businesses. You and Peter Schulze are invaluable.
      The VCK

  2. So, you’re post is pretty terrible. Generally, you’re making an argument for better, faster, and cheaper. Common knowledge is that when doing anything, commercials, making a tire, whatever it is, you can have two of the three, but not all three. By making an argument where you argue you’re capable of ALL, you’re undermining the validity of any of your individual points. Now one by one:

    Better: Ad meter is worthless. It’s a metric for how much people like a spot during the spot as it airs, not a metric that has anything to do with conversion rate (actually driving sales, true brand impression, or retention). If that’s really what you’re using to argue for better, you’re an idiot. Additionally, within the industry while people like the cachet of winning Ad meter or placing well, it really has little corellation with awards, or what is viewed as “good” advertising. When a socially sourced ad starts winning at Cannes, better can be a discussion.

    Cheaper: This is bulls**t. I’m sorry but no one makes an ad for 12.79 — that’s a PR stunt to get people talking about it — and you fell for it. Not only do you spend more than that on electricity alone, its a blatant misrepresentation of the economics involved. If you’re doing a paid gig rather than a hobby, you have to pay people, either by contract or as employees. You cannot do everything yourself, and if you try to your project WILL suffer. You cannot DP and direct, period — if you do, your performances suffer, or your composition/look suffers. Next, you have equipment, at the least a $500 camera and a $1000 laptop. The “good” consumer generated content makers probably have 10k or more in hardware or software, and/or access to it. Sure you can wilfully ignore these since you’ve already paid for them, but a proper budget amortizes the cost of the hardware/software over the number of projects you produce with it. Additionally, if you’re doing this commercially, you better carry insurance. All types of insurance. From insuring your footage, to general production liability insurance, etc… You can’t get a location permit in NYC without at least a million in insurance. As a hobbyist, you can ignore these things. If you’re doing it commercially, you have to follow the rules, or risk bankruptcy from one small mistake, and going to jail for simply breaking the law. Finally, you have your time. In the real world, labor costs are the single largest line item, period, and not counting how many man hours you put into your hobby project is bulls**t. You have to account for the value of your time. Even fixed costs, like a prop or a suit, are fundamentally driven by the labor it requires to make them not the material costs. Lights, cameras, film stock, etc… have been ancillary for years. Sound mixing doesn’t cost $600/hr because the room really costs $400/hr over years to build and maintain, its because your engineer has to be paid. Color correct doesn’t need to cost several thousand an hour because you need a $2 million film scanner; you can shoot on RED, but it still costs that because if you’re in the top 50 in the world at what you do, you’re going to be able to make a nice living; otherwise what’s the point.

    Faster: You once again, have no idea what you’re talking about. Group think is largely a client issue, not an agency problem, and lengthy production schedules are far from requisite, and usually the work is better when you have time and can take a fresh look at a project after a few days. That said, it can be done fast — remember Visa’s Olympic commercials? Turned around in less than a day if not hours. Some other large brands will shoot friday and be able to air saturday night. I would love to see you try that – you would be shocked at how fast things get done once there’s client approval, and the agency and vendors go to town.

    Additionally, I don’t think you understand what an ad agency is. Advertising is not just broadcast. There is print, radio, web, PR, integrated, point of purchase, direct, etc… that all has to be on brand and look good. Do you know how many account people alone it takes to manage a giant telecom account? There is simply no way in hell you can be small and manage a national brand. You need hands. So why not just outsource the broadcast? Because your agency, will f*****g fire you. — and the parts they can outsource, they do, to production companies and post-production companies. Creatives like their jobs because they get to work on the broadcast. If they don’t get to do that, they get cranky, and they stop showing up to work, and then you don’t have a campaign. You have an idea of what you want to communicate to your customers, but you don’t know how to do it. Good luck.

    What I don’t understand is your constant disparagement of Madison avenue. These agencies are not just giant companies, they are tens of thousands of people who have spent their lives becoming very very good at what they do. The idea that you from an outside perspective would say you can do better, without having any first hand knowledge or understanding, or evidence to support yourself, is laughable. Half if not more of the people in the commercial production industry are freelance, and non-union. The freelance market is thriving, you just don’t know how to or can’t access it.

    People that are that good and win these contests, will get recognized, will get signed with production companies, and will get great day rates and have awesome careers. These contests are just one more channel toward joining the big boys. Sure, you’ll have small local businesses dabbling in video content more, and thats great, but agencies don’t care, they don’t want those accounts, and the idea that you’re going to have national brands paying $10k for a :30 is pure insanity.

    Yes, you can get some great ideas from crowd sourcing, but by and large the advertising message is the contest itself. We spend 40k to run a contest, and we get word of mouth and social media popularity with a young difficult to access target market, and as a bonus, maybe we get some good ideas, or find a hot new director who can be thankful to us for his career.

    You can have all the fun you want making infomercials for filtration systems, I’ll go back to working on making the impossible happen for the biggest 20 brands in the world.

    • Hey No Thanks,
      You sound a bit like me during the closing years of a 17 year career as a wedding photographer. I just simply refused to switch from film to digital, and all of the processes that went along with it. I was sure the digital realm was just a passing fancy.

      Hello!! Brands getting spots for $10,000.00 and using them in quarter long national media buys, is already happening. EG:

      Time to wake up and smell the roses my man.

      Ten years from now, 10K – 25K per national will be the order of the day“. You can quote me.

      The VCK

      • Haha.

        Man did you even read what I said? Those two photographers for Amazon? They’re now repped by workhorse; a production company. An example of talent rising through the social media process. Go ahead, call their EP and try to get them to make a spot for less than 100k now. And your spot? Please, that’s not even close to national broadcast level.

        When you go through a contest, you have volunteer actors, craftsmen etc, who you don’t have to pay. Any project those two work on now is going to have huge costs. Music prices will be massive, residual talent payments, etc… and you’re forgetting they were massively talented still photographers to begin with.

        Getting a spot for 10k, and that being the cost of the spot, are not one and the same. It only costs 10k because someone is absorbing the loss. The talent did it for free, the directors, worked for free, the music, was free, etc… there was recording time, mix time, etc… so that they could get a giant audience for their work. Plus who knows what happened to the spot after it won the contest. It was probably color corrected, conformed, mixed for broadcast, etc…

        These are not reproduceable — you get it free once; people will do it for nothing to make a name, but then you have to pay for it. Yes, contests will continue to happen. No there will not be a change where people who do it for a living will accept 10-25k for something thats worth hundreds of thousands.

        Not everyone can make great ads, so what the technology shift is allowing, is people with great creative to make spec work and shine; but thats more or less how its always been, its just more visible now that its on the internet. Its all about having the best people possible on a project, and now its just easier to find those people. Its still going to cost the brands. People have to eat.

        Ad runs aren’t bought by the quarter, and 10k in 10 years will be 5k. No one that’s any good will do it, because it won’t be worth their time.

        The agency model is changing drastically, but not the way you think.

        • @No Thanks.
          My spot ran nationally from October thru January 2009. It was the brand’s primary ad thru the holidays last year. I guess you and just disagree about what is and isn’t national quality. Excuse me, what ad agency is it you said you own?

          BTW, how is it that you think all of a sudden the source for the type of creative who nailed the Amazon contest is going to all of a sudden dry up and blow away. I agree, that a fancy new DSLR does not a true creative make, but for every 1,000 of them in the hands of new director wannabes, twenty additional talents will be discovered. There will be ten times as many capable creative/directors in less than five years, than there are today, all vie-ing for the same work. Surely they also teach some economics in Arts School.

          I am telling you man, the tsunami is coming. You better head to high ground or you’re going to mess up the metro-sexual hairdo.

          Sorry, you resorted to name-calling early on, so I figured I owed you one. Now we’re even. Still I can’t get this visual out of my head. Hey, why don’t you man up and reveal your true identity? I might take you more seriously. Anonymity doesn’t take much huevos.

          The King

          • Sorry for the idiot remark, but your zeal for admeter rankings is truly ridiculous. A number one admeter spot does not mean something is good or effective advertising, and furthermore, I’m sick and tired of people promoting work that was done for $x hundred dollars or less as somehow being revolutionary — its fraudulent and gives people the idea that oh, if so and so can do it for $500 why can’t you do it for less than $200k. For example that “$500” short robot invasion film, was not made by some guy, but by a lead 3d artist at a high end post-house in south america on probably half a million worth of equipment. Yes, it really cost him and his team $500. Thats utter crap and you’re repeating it.

            The source isnt going anywhere, you just can see it now. This is how directors and creatives have always come up, but instead of vimeo they had to wait in a lobby to show a bigshot their work. Now you can send a link. I don’t fundamentally think the ratio of talent/population is somehow different now than in the past 20 years just because there are more people with access to cameras. Talent has always found a way.

            Yes, there will be a new market for all sorts of small brands with low budgets and an appetite for content, but I and other professionals don’t really care to work on that stuff, and when we do, there’s a serious “stupid tax” so have at it – but the high end work just can’t be done at 1 job a week for $10k — you can’t afford the software, hardware, equipment, and people. We blow through that in a day on mixing alone.

            Nationally does not mean it aired in different parts of the country, nationally means it was network broadcast and aired at the same time, during the same show, across the country. That ad did not air nationally, it was probably local and regional ad buys through specific cable companies or affiliate stations.

            And that said, SkinIt can feel welcome to air whatever spot they want, but the Amazon spot is in a totally different realm than the SkinIt one. ATT, Target, Verizon, Apple, etc would not touch a spot like that, and clients like that are who I work for and the only thing relevant to this conversation. I’m not trying to “get by” by making local ads that make me a buck, I’m trying to tell stories in :30 seconds that affect millions of people; move them so much they actually go out and buy something, or do something. I didn’t get into film/video so a few thousand people at a time could see something.

            I don’t think you understand how fast things are done, I don’t think you understand how good national brand spots really are, and because you’ve never run a production company that works on big brands and seem to handle everything yourself, I don’t think you understand the economics of the business. I mean, are you even aware that 90% of big brands are SAG signatories? You can’t make a commercial for some of them without using SAG/AFTRA talent and compensation schedules. Plus you can’t use SAG talent

            Due to the nature of my work and the social aspect of ones career, I’d rather not identify myself specifically. You can choose to take me seriously or not, but you will never see a Fortune 100 brand contracting for a spot for $10k all-in. Contests are contests, but high end known talent will never work that cheap. You can choose to believe me or not, but I know I wouldn’t work for that, and I know others wouldn’t either (and I’m nowhere near the apex of my career, just on path). You’d have to give me equity in the brand to get me to.

            • Hey No Thanks,
              Okay, I’ll play along here that you are too important to reveal your identity but not too important to spend half a day trying to prove little old VCK wrong. Keep your anonymity if you must.

              I’ll address a few of your assertions although I am growing tired of this thread.
              FIRST: aired the commercial nationally. As much as this hurts you, it was playing on ESPN in the Bahamas, at the same time it was playing in Utah. You can check it if you don’t believe me.
              SECOND: Here is a quote from you: “…Nationally does not mean it aired in different parts of the country, nationally means it was network broadcast…”.
              You’re kidding me right? No, no seriously your joking right??? Have you seen the ratings share for ‘networks’ these days?? Twenty years ago, the networks had clout. Today, cable channels like FOX , ESPN, TNT blow the ‘networks’ out of the water.

              Are you trying to tell me, that when my Doritos spot aired nationally back in 2007 and I had a broadcast schedule and could tell my friend in Pennsylvania exactly when it would air that it isn’t a national because it was on Cartoon Network, or Disney? Dude, your cognitive dissonance is showing. I have heard these arguments before from other industry professionals who are steeped in the branding tradition…er… the retainers they have become dependent on and these arguments hold less and less water with each passing month.

              Why do you think Anheuser Busch fired their ad agency (axed the retainer) after the Herbert Brothers smoked them during the SuperBowl, and decided to start executing advertising assignments on a project by project basis? Budweiser had held the USA Today Ad Meter #1 spot for ten years straight until Doritos (Herbert Brothers) knocked them off. Yeah, the ad meter was cool and coveted in the industry when Bud won it every year, but as soon as Doritos nabs it, it ain’t cool no more….funny. The money and time that goes into the test marketing that Bud and Doritos execute, for the purpose of determining which ones will score high and be talked about around the water cooler the day after, is serious business. If you don’t know this, you should. Yeah I know…it ain’t anything unless it scores at Cannes. Talk about the status quo upholding itself. That’s laughable. You know, as a member of the PPA, Professional Photographers Association, I used to be disgusted at the monthly requirements to submit competition prints to be judged by ourselves and for awards to be given out in political and nepotistic ways, to ourselves, in order to legitimize our craft. Cannes doesn’t impress me.

              I already acknowledged that there will be a minority of agencies and production companies with certain skills that will distinguish themselves from others and will be able to charge a premium moving forward,…I’ll give you that. But by and large, the down-sizing and micro evolution of the industry has started and anyone who wants to ignore this will go the way of the dinosaurs. Theory, acumen, technology etc. taught in Arts School just 5 years ago is already proving archaic and frequently obsolete for real world practical application. And if I hear one more time, that, experience shooting on film is required for any director to be respected in the industry, I’m gonna puke. And you’re talking to a guy who LOVES FILM!!!! I taught custom color hand printing using a Besseler/Minolta BM45 and RA-4 Kodak chemistry for pete’s sake. But you don’t need experience with a Bolex 16mm or Panaflex equipment to find a home for yourself in the ad business.

              Hey, I understand the desperation of clinging to a degree that is a lot less meaningful than it was the day you received it. I didn’t like it either 15 years ago, when the market was glutted with ‘Dan the Photo Man’, ‘Joe The Photo Pro’, and ‘Jean The Photo Queen’, and any other person who wanted to pay $50 to have 1,000 business cards printed up claiming to be a wedding photographer, when digital cameras made it easy to test the waters of the wedding business. The fact is though, that ever increasing waves of capable photographers emerged from the great unwashed of wannabes who tried the art. I should know… I taught many of them (Tri-Commnity School of Photography – Covina, Ca.). I hated that my profession could be marginalized and with such speed. And yeah, like you, I took it personal.
              But as an adept business man, I adjusted and through effective sales skills, changed the way I marketed myself and was able to stay in business. On top of everything, shooting medium format roll film just wasn’t cost effective anymore. Before I was forced to change over to digital I retired, eventually deciding to try my hand at commercial production. Yes, as hard as it is to swallow, I ‘decided’ to try my hand at commercial production and have done fairly well. My kind of transition is a microcosm of the phenomena that is slowly but surely changing the way things will be done in advertising. And every time one of my commercials is on national, national regional, national cable, or whatever you are suggesting I call it, the fact is, that one of Saatchi and Saatchi’s is not. No matter how you slice it, market share is being stratified at an ever increasing pace. Frankly, technology is also changing most of the other facets of branding and how content is delivered (aside from video). It will continue to re-shape and squeeze the status quo in measurable and uncomfortable ways. It is all just a perrennial truism of the history of business. The creme de la creme of the ivory handled buggy whip manufacturers also had to adjust when Ford came along. Sorry to be the messenger.

              BTW, I meant to respond to your thread sooner but I was at my sons swim meet. He got 1st place in the breaststroke and I am stoked. He competes JV.

              Look, we can keep this exchange going if you like, but I don’t think I’m going to impress you to any alternative course of action, and I know for sure you won’t change me either so unless it is completely new territory we cover, we probably shouldn’t bore the readers too much longer on this thread. Beside’s I think wordpress only allows ten layers deep here in the comments section. It was good talking to you, and if by chance you really are a brand manager for a fortune 100 company or a VP of creative at some swank agency, more power to you, but don’t be surprised if someday you want/need some compelling good looking chubby white boy comedy branding content and decide that the VCK is priced right. I’ll cut you a deal…maybe.

              Good chatting with you. The VCK.

  3. Right on point Jared. I couldn’t agree with you more. The internet video contest world is creating a more efficient market. I think the GoDaddy contest is a great example of this. They’ve received a lot of high quality entries while offering less cash then Doritos. I look forward to seeing the winning ad on TV.

  4. Some of those monolith ad agencies your so quick to dismiss don’t just focus on :30 seconds spots. In fact, I’d say most of the time, the spot is the last thing on the agencies/client mind. From focus groups/internal testing/legal/print/web, these agencies do a lot more than just produce :30 spots. Crowd sourcing is just another way to advertise, a cheap 20K commercial will never match one of those $350k spots with multiple vendors working multiple distribution methods. I think you’re right in that crowd sourcing is becoming more popular, but it’s still far from the amount of money/quality produced by the bigger agencies.

    • J, I never said we would quickly learn the other responsibilities of branding and the related campaign. This blog concerns itself with things ‘video’. I am asserting that the ‘video’ production element of a campaign is entering a whole new phase of evolution. I have spoken to dozens of production companies while submitting my directors reel and can’t tell you how many share with me the stories of their colleagues losing cars and losing homes because of the morphing that is taking place in the industry. Over time, large businesses have a tendency to create red tape for themselves that encumber the creative process and are expensive to maintain. Couple that with the other things I enumerated in the blog post and the future is clear. The future is happening as we speak.

  5. Charles Lezette

    The Craziest Local Car Dealer Ads Of All Time

  6. Charles Lezette

    Hey VCK, Thanks For The Post Boot ! You Are a Rare One !

    • Hey Charles,
      I cut and pasted the post and meant to put it in a thread of it’s own instead of the discussion thread where you placed it.

      I think it is a good conversation to have here on the VCK, but not specific to the exchange going on between ‘No Thanks’ and myself. Also, the fact that you uploaded two comments back to back meant that the 10 comment limit imposed by wordpress would cut the exchange down substantially.

      Please do feel free to repost as a new thread, so that ‘No Thanks’ will have room to respond to the exchange in the thread currently underway. Honestly, ‘No Thanks’ wasn’t really arguing the merits of one commercial over another and it would have had the net effect of deflecting our debate.

      The VCK

  7. Charles Lezette

    OK Cool, Sorry Sir… Thanks Jared

  8. Well,
    I definitly believe that the independant creative will become a crucial part of the future of advertising but I’m not sure I share your optimisim on the scope that they will take over.

    My fear is that many of the best indy guys will become employed or contracted out by some of the major ad firms out there that would offer them instant big bucks and security. I liken all this to the recording industry.

    It is very easy now to record and master a full CD of music out of your house nowadays with a sound that rivals major studios (I’ve put out 3 myself). I always belived that the indy labels would begin to overtake the big label guys, but here 10 years later the big labels still reign surpreme ( but they ae struggling because of the digital and internet world). Although there has been some small indy success though.

    I do hope you are correct though Jared, I would love to be a part of all this, and it is very clear that that the big ad guys are watching and in some cases trying to think like an indy creative. A good example of this would be the newest batch of Old Spice ads, they really have the look and writing feel of a Indy production.

    Here’s an example, just remember what the old ones looked like.

    • Danny,
      A free market always takes care of itself. With the music industry you’re disappointment comes from independent artists hoping to aspire to the heights of a Justin Beiber or Jonas Brothers (without selling out) and failing to do so en masse. I understand your disappointment.

      I am suggesting, that it will probably never happen in the music business given the dynamics of the industry. What I am talking about is kind of the opposite in the way of financial structure. With video creative, I am saying that the price/fees will drop dramatically in the coming years. That, instead of freelancers making the same amount that the big boys currently do, soon everyone will be making a lot less money than the current status quo provides for. I don’t know about you, but though I would love to command $350,000.00 per commercial…when the dust settles I can live with $15,000.00 per month for a commercial each.

      A good book to read is Chris Anderson’s ‘The Long Tail’. Everyone will/can find their niche audience if they are diligent. When the dust settles in several years it will be a much friendlier advertising environment for the talented micro-porduction company.

      The VCK

      • Haha,

        Well I think we’re worth at least $100.000 a spot in the future Jared, C’mon man, lets not aim too low.


        • Danny, we are only ever worth what the market will pay us. This is something I believe is lost on ‘No Thanks’. Yes, I would love to say, “Hey, I am the VCK damn it and you will pay me $100K”. Okay……..
          Yes, there will be some niche producers who will bring something to the table that no one else can and they will for sure be able to charge a premium, but over all, just like press photographers who get published in major newspapers, most freelance video creatives aren’t going to become millionaires.
          The VCK

  9. BTW Jared,

    There couldnt be a more clear reason why brands should never let public voting decide winners of contests than the current Highest rated video at the contests site right now. He’s been atop for several days now.

    I don’t like to diss on anyones video contest entree (with some exceptions) but I think even the creator of the Banana “Sell out” Godaddy video would agree that this ad would never air during the Superbowl or even on TV for that matter.

    This is a clear example of what you and I always take about regarding SN type contests Jared. This particular creator is I guess a comedian and has a ton of friends and subscribers but his videos are not exactly the top quality that major brands would air. Again this is not a diss to him only an observation. Kudos to him for aquiring so many Subs.

    Even though I’m not trying to win a cam or Alienware computer in the Godaddy contest, I have tried to increase my rating via SN activity. Let me give you the sobering outcome.

    Since one of my actors is a famous female MMA fighter, Michelle Waterson, I sent an invite using the Jacksons MMA Myspace site (Jacksons is the Top MMA gym in the world) to around 6000 friends to go rate my video a 5 and share.

    After a five day wait, the result, my video went from 2.1 to 2.35, hardly a blip. I also used my Twitter and personal SN sites.

    Just though I’d share the difficult task of SN type voting. Thanks God that the GoDaddy judges will pick the top 3, we may not get selected but at least we can feel we have a shot.

  10. Yeah that Banana Sell Out sucks, i don’t mind dissing videos that deserve it, and that one clearly does. Will be interesting to see who GoDaddy selects as one of the top 3 and if the public vote sways them at all.

    • Hey Shane,
      While I think the Banana sellout does not measure up to 95% of the other spots from a creative content standpoint, he has been campaigning for votes. Where branding is concerned this is exactly what GoDaddy is requiring of prizes 4-10. Like it or not there are contests that care little about content and there are contests that reward legit creativity. GoDaddy is rewarding both through this contest. Even if ‘Bananas’ wins a consolation prize (4-10), I wouldn’t worry about GoDaddy ever using the video content beyond the contest. It wouldn’t make branding sense.
      The VCK

  11. It’s not about whether “Banana Sell Out” sucks or not. He could have put a video up there with nothing but bars and tone and still be worthy of a prize. –The fact is, he was successful in bringing more people to the Go Daddy site than anyone else. — I hope he wins.

    • Right on Mike. He has definitely earned whatever prize he receives. This type of brand proliferation strategy is also valuable to GoDaddy. Hey, maybe a new editing program will improve his output, ha ha ha.
      Something tells me he is aware of the absurdity of his material, in much the same way Dennis Rodman knew painting his head yellow would draw attention. Everyone markets themselves differently, and as long as they are comfortable with the legacy, it is their right.
      The VCK

      • Some may think it’s ‘not fair’ or out-of-whack somehow, but it looks like this guy has worked very hard to build a following on youTube.

        And my bet is, each of those followers were inundated with requests to vote for his video. Each time they voted, they probably checked out other videos…voting low on the top competitors. It’s all kind of fun…and a decent prize is awarded for so much effort –Not the caliber of prize as the top three, but still really decent.

        I also like that they did not have a ‘remarks’ section or a ‘forum’. They avoided any negative banter and ran the contest the way they saw fit.
        Kudos to Go-Daddy.

  12. Nice read. Good debate with Mystery Ad Man. Time will tell.

    • Hey Matt,
      Thanks for stopping buy. Yeah, I understand what Mystery Ad Man (aka ‘No Thanks’) is trying to say but I don’t buy for a second, that the advertising industry is going to be impervious to the rudiments of Economics 101.
      The VCK

  13. Mike and Jared , I see your point, seems GoDaddy is one of the few contests who actually had a really good prize structure by having both popular and judging for prizes, hopefully more contests follow suit. I guess we can thank you Jared for knocking some sense into GoDaddy, ha, ha—Shane

  14. Hey Shane,
    Yeah, the bottom line with these brands is getting the message to the consumers. I can’t fault GoDaddy for trying to hit two birds with one contest.
    The VCK

  15. Well if you haven’t see them already the finalists are already posted at their contest site, some good ones and some questionsable ones, I ain’t one of them Doh:(

    • Hey Danny,
      Yeah, there seems to be some odd picks there. I think though that I will reserve judgement for when I see which three made the money bracket.
      The VCK

  16. Charles Lezette

    Da GoDaddy Finalist. I Can’t Believe The Guy With the Sweatband, JibbaJabbin In Front Of That Ugly Brown Backdrop, Even Made to the Finalist Position !

  17. Jared,

    You already know how I feel about your work and encourage you to keep up the excellent creative motion you have going. I am still in limbo on my thought process as to where the chips will truly fall. The auto industry is already leaning toward the three points in your discussion and I know this from someone who has been working in Detroit for the past 20+ years.

    Even though the method of delivery was quite harsh and deliberate I do understand and agree with a few of “No Thanks” points. That said, I have some seen some real turkeys come out of those big high priced AD Agencies and wondered who in the hell signed off on that???

    Creativeness, Writing Skills, Casting, and much more go into making a successful production of any kind. No one person holds all of the above all of the time and that is where having a group of people can pay off.

    For this reason I am wondering how it will work out 10 to 15 years down the road… JE

    • Hey Jon,
      I agree. No man is a creative island. It is why I strongly suggest all creatives build/employ a peer circle to harvest review and critique of the dailies from script to shooting through editing. Anyone who thinks they can do it all on their own and better than if they involved others is just plain narrow minded.

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