Is it possible for professional advertising creatives to become an oxymoron? Will advertising jobs be replaced by crowdsourced solutions?
It may be argued that crowdsourcing is changing the advertising industry, making the traditional set up of an agency obsolete (Sacks, 2010). Victors&Spoils is the first advertising agency based on the principle of crowdsourcing; it has as few as 4 employees but boasts a creative department of 600 people spread around the world (Hadfield, 2009, p.18). This phenomenon has grown exponentially to the point where there are more than a hundred crowdsourcing platforms as well as a number of crowdsourcing based agencies including AdBakery, Popten, Edelman Studios, AdHack, Genius Rocket, Zoopa, Black Turtle Media, Adiki (Dawson, 2010). User generated advertising is believed to have the potential to outperform traditional agencies at reduced costs as demonstrated by the fact that 2 out of the 5 top advertisements featured during the 2010 Superbowl were crowdsourced, and so were some of the top virals before and after the match (Learmoth, 2010 and Brabham, 2009). This may sound impressive at first, but as Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, suggests, there will be a backlash, especially when people realise that they have families to feed and this business model is endangering many jobs (cited in Schmitt, 2009). Unsurprisingly, Fast Company (2006) listed advertising creatives among one of the six jobs that will not exist in 2016 and it will be valuable to evaluate how much agencies themselves are driving this phenomenon.
Although the literature on the topic is quite broad, there is no study that focuses on the question ‘Is it possible for professional advertising creatives to become an oxymoron?’ which is the subject of this research. The author believes that there is a serious need for a study as such, considering the number of young people investing in a career path that might soon become outdated.