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Diageo Posts Creative Brief Online for All to Play

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NEW YORK Diageo, which spends approximately $170 million on U.S. advertising each year, is looking to shell out a measly $5,000 as compensation for a new "responsible drinking" campaign.

And roster shops like JWT and BBDO need not apply for the local effort, which is timed to run in Phoenix just before the Super Bowl there. Instead, Diageo has opened up the brief by posting it on an online marketplace for ideas called OpenAd.net.

The campaign, to be sure, is tiny—print, out-of-home and taxi-top ads will be backed by a mere $12,000—so it's not a revenue blow to any agency; it's simply another example of a marketer's willingness to go beyond its agencies and hear ideas from almost anywhere or anybody.

Diageo could not be reached for comment, but others noted the difference between consumer-generated content—the buzz at last year's Super Bowl—and an agency.

"There's a huge gap between the quality of consumer-generated communications and professional-generated communications. You get what you pay for," said Brian Martin of SourceMartin in New York. "You can't expect an iPod-level idea to come from that. ... One hundred monkeys with typewriters might publish an idea worth going with, but the likelihood of success is very low."

London-based Diageo, the largest marketer of distilled spirits in the world, detailed its requirements in a brief that OpenAd e-mailed to its 10,000 registered "creatives"—a mixture of amateurs and professionals from 123 countries, only 6 percent of whom live in North America. Several Diageo brands are sponsoring "high-profile events in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, and we want to do our part to amplify the usual responsibility messages in a brand-friendly way," the brief stated.

Also, because Arizona ranks near the top among states in arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, Diageo wants to encourage drinkers to "designate a driver, arrange a car service, find a taxi ... anything to get home safely after a night of celebrating with ... alcohol," the company wrote. "The key objective of this brief is to create a catchy slogan (or set of related slogans) for responsible drinking which reflects the seriousness of the issue but which resonates with beverage alcohol consumers." The campaign, which will run locally in Phoenix during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLII, won't mention Diageo by name, but the company may "tag" the winning creative with the logos of some of its brands.

Diageo's request for ideas went up Dec. 15; the deadline for submissions is Wednesday. OpenAd declined to discuss the response. On its Web site, OpenAd promises that member marketers—who pay at least $3,000 to join—will get a minimum of 20 ideas and that the average brief generates anywhere from 20 to 100 responses.

Those who submit ideas don't pay to participate, and OpenAd takes a 22.5 percent fee for each deal it brokers, according to the site. "Creatives set the price for their own work. They can set any price they like or use our online Price Calculator as a guide," Openad.net states. "Ideas are bought under license either for 12 months or in perpetuity." The brief states the winning idea will fetch $5,000.

"I hate to say this, but ideas are a dime a dozen. It's the execution of the idea and who it is used by that's the ultimate value," said Arthur Anderson of Morgan Anderson Consulting in New York.

Diageo isn't the first major marketer to use OpenAd. Procter & Gamble used the service this fall to generate a campaign in Puerto Rico for its Gillette Fusion razor. P&G paid a reported $1,000 for the winning concept, "She knows the difference," which came from Live Entertainment in Mumbai, India.