I was happy to hear Threadless founder and former CEO Jake Nickell on public radio’s “Markeplace” tonight, and how he was “crowdsourcing” in Threadless’ decade of business… even before there was a name for it. “Last year we paid over $1.5 million out to artists,” he told interviewer Kai Ryssdal. Designers upload their creations, and the community votes for the best… which are produced and sold with artists getting a $2K cash prize, $500K in a gift certificate, and royalties.
Then I compared it to today’s news. Philadelphia-based Poptent (www.poptent.net), which crowdsources video production for large and mid-sized brands, has given out $1 million in cash payments. That’s certainly a first for online video, and considering in no doubt went to a small sub-segment of the 20,000 Poptent videographers, it’s a pretty good sign for the online-video creator community. The million-dollar man was hit by Sean Cunningham, a NY-based freelance videographer who received $10,000 for creating this video as part of GE’s “Tag Your Green” ecomagination campaign. Disclaimer: I worked with Poptent when it was Xlntads, and also participated in the GE campaign as a YouTube creator.
It’s a wonderfully inspired “amateur” creation that could easily fit as a broadcast television ad. Community comments on the video are positive, even if some might have been from competitors. Cunningham has been a member of Poptent since October 2008 and participated in previous Poptent assignments for Becks Beer, eHealth, and Snickers. All four of the crowdsourced GE videos can be viewed here.
What’s even more encouraging? The assignment came not directly but via a major agency’s digital arm (OMD). That tells me the market is finally understanding that while agencies won’t soon lose their seat at the creative and strategy table, there are lots of Cunninghams with bright ideas. Even if it took six versions (see screen shot).