Site Caters to Wannabe Ad Copywriters

  |  July 22, 2005   |  Comments

Watch out, ad copywriters: A new site aims to tap the Web's average Joes and Josephines to do your jobs.

Launched in May, AdCandy.com runs monthly contests inviting the public to come up with the best slogans, marketing ideas and art for brands and business categories.

AdCandy.com's founder, Per Hoffman, said the light bulb for the site lit up when a friend told him an idea for an ad slogan (which he now forgets). At the time, he though was fantastic.

"I literally had a Newtonian moment where the apple hits you on the head," said Hoffman. "People always have these ideas, but at the individual level, there is little you can do with them. But on the aggregate, national level there has to be some value there."

For its first contest, AdCandy.com invited visitors to come up with slogans for any of the non-profits listed in its database. The winner was H. Renay Anderson of Austin, Texas for her entry for the NAACP: "The Doors are Open, Let's Walk in Together."

Hoffman said he's had no contact with the NAACP, but intends to offer the slogan to the group at no cost.

Other entries in AdCandy.com's non-profit contest included "If You Still Believe in Freedom, You Are Not Alone" for the Libertarian Party; "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" for Human Rights Watch; "You... And this Army" for the U.S. Army; "Girl Scouts Today Are Successful Women Tomorrow" for the Girl Scouts of America; and "Visit your MoMA Every Once in a While" for the Museum of Modern Art.

Hoffman claims about 8 percent of visitors to his site register, to the tune of about 2,600 to date. Fifty-two percent are men, and 48 percent are women.

The site asks registrants to furnish basic demographic information, such as gender, age, name and zip code; and psychographic information, such as beer and sports consumption habits, and hobbies.

The reception he's received from businesses so far? "They've said, '2,600 is nice. Call us when you've got 26,000.'"

Hoffman says his original plan, companies paying to subscribe to his site, has yet to bear fruit. However, possibilities for innovative focus-group activities have emerged in comments where entrants explain their work.

"Focus groups cost $10,000," he said. "One prize worth $100 [on AdCandy.com] has drawn 600 unique user responses. With 500 or 600 people offering opinions, patterns start to come out."

In a current contest to name slogans for the nation's various coffee chains, Hoffman said, a class war has emerged that's given him valuable insight into the psychographics of America's coffee drinkers, for example.

"I didn't realize the level of class resentment going on between Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts," he said. "A lot of people really don't like the use of European words to describe Starbucks' sizes."

Hoffman said he believes Dunkin' Donuts could capitalize on this information to build an image, soothing like the all-American, Budweiser beer of donut shops.

In another contest, FarylRobin Footwear, a New York-based supplier of mid-tier women's shoes, is looking for a name for its marketing niche: urban professional women who wouldn't be caught dead shopping in malls, but who don't have unlimited funds. The top three entries will receive shoes supplied by the company, or, if they're men, $100 Amazon.com gift certificates.

Current front-runners include "Cosmonistas," Urbanistas and "Blingers."

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