John Winsor is an author and strategic thinker, now best known as the founder of the world’s first advertising agency built on crowdsourcing principles. Victors & Spoils is a communications agency that sources creative ideas from the digital community for some of the world’s major brands. Winsor, the CEO, had previously been pursuing the potential of online publishing for two decades. He took a wealth of communications and digital experience, including projects with the acclaimed advertising firm Crispin Porter Bogusky, into a crowdsourcing (ad)venture.
“Victors & Spoils was launched from Colorado in 2009 and founded on a simple but fundamental principle, ‘that ideas can come from everywhere, there is this radical democratization that social media and technology gives everybody the same right to participate in any kind of thing’. For Winsor it went way beyond advertising – ‘You see it in the anti-banking rallies in Wall St (2012) and the Arab Spring (from 2011). These new technologies allow for that kind of thing. The principle in our case was that best idea should win – even if you’re an amateur from Lexington, Kentucky. You still have the same ability to win and be awarded the prize as if you’re an executive creative director from New York.’
Once they had an accessible creative crowd, they then needed the work. V&S again turned the chain of operation on its head by reinventing the pitch process for Harley – without invitation:
‘We noticed, like everyone else did, that Harley Davidson had got rid of their agency for the last 30 years. We just decided to use the power of social media and digital to put our own brief together and launch it. We put our money where our mouth was, threw in $5,000 for the best ideas, launched it into our crowd and told Harley that we were working for them. I wrote a blog post saying “hey enjoy the pitch processes with your agencies and have a good dinners and great meetings. As you guys do that, we’ll have 2,500 people working on your business. Give us a shot if you want to talk about it.’
Harley Davidson’s CMO appreciated the spirit-of-the-age approach and took them on. V&S’s work with Harley has developed into TV, press, web and film among others. They have subsequently produced web strategies with Levi’s and integrated campaigns with Discovery Channel.”
Read about John Winsor and his advertising career in the book Pioneers of Digital.