Brand advertisers like to say a good idea can come from anywhere. Havas is putting its money behind that slogan with the acquisition of an agency that draws its creative ideas from the supposed wisdom of crowds.
The French holding company has acquired a majority stake in Victors & Spoils, a small shop in Boulder, CO, that specializes in crowd sourcing. Rather than task a hand-selected creative team with dreaming up big ideas, Victors & Spoils uses digital and social media to solicit ideas from thousands of creatives – including writers, art directors, strategists, designers and producers - around the world.
"When an industry goes through a revolution you can either sit and watch it happen or embrace the exciting new business models at the forefront of that revolution," said Havas CEO David Jones in a press release. "Victors & Spoils is one of those new models that is challenging our entire industry, and I'm delighted to welcome them into the group."
Victor & Spoils was founded in 2009 by two Crispin Porter alumni, creative director Evan Fry and CEO John Winsor, and Claudia Batten, formerly of video game advertising agency Massive. So far, the agency has worked with clients including Coca-Cola, Converse, Discovery Channel, General Mills and Gap.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
V&S claims to have achieved profitability shortly after its founding thanks to its reliance on technology rather than personnel. The agency draws its ideas from a team of 6,000 creatives scattered across the globe through its proprietary "fan machine" platform.
V&S will become part of Havas's business unit. The first thing V&S will do is use its technology to build a Havas "crowd" of 15,000 professionals from which the agency can draw ideas.
Winsor will retain his CEO title at V&S and assume the role of chief innovation officer at Havas. The rest of the V&S management team will be unaffected by the acquisition, according to Havas.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014