Victors & Spoils Jumps on the Harley-Davidson Business, Unprompted

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By now, you're heard Carmichael Lynch has parted ways with Harley-Davidson after 31 years as their AOR. In a fairly ballsy move, John Winsor, CEO of Boulder crowdsourcing agency Victors & Spoils, yesterday posted a note on his blog to Mark-Hans Richer – the CMO of Harley – telling him that V&S has taken the initiative to get the 1,800 creatives in their staff cranking on ideas for the business. What do you think of this move? Have we entered a completely new era of competing for accounts? Will it work for them?

UPDATE: Here's Harley's response:



It's no different than unsolicited spec work to try to dazzle some business, nothing new. Except for the part about having 1800 creatives who are willing to work for free. To which I have to ask, if you're willing to give it away, how does anyone--client or creator--see it as valuable?

Seems that the icon of the American worker would be perfectly suited with the crowdsourced crap that comes out of V/S.


Can't think of a bigger gap between client and agency values than that.

I love this new economic model. Sweatshop squared.

At least V&S isn't shopping jobs off to China!

Chances are is that it probably won't work but might land a project or two for them just out of new kids on the block curiosity.

The bigger picture here though is that clients are starting to reconsider the entire AOR model. Those days might be fading into history. Companies are looking to lean up and consider all kinds of new paradigms. V&S is only offering 1 of those. There will be several new models for creative production and advertising in the next 5 years.

WHAT? Dude, no way. Can they even do that? I'm not sure. The safest thing to do about it will be to lob comments on them from this website. Always use a fake name though, so if we bump into these jokers at some industry function we can slap on a smile to conceal our real feelings. Man, what a bunch of kooks these guys are, I bet their plan will fail though.

Yeah, I'm sorry V&S, I'm not feeling this at all. Initially signed up to see what it was all about... lasted about 4 mass emails before creating a new filter that sends their emails straight to my trash. I can only handle so many emails signed, "Hugs and Kitten Breath".... let's at least try to be semi-professional when asking for free work. Is that too much to ask?

I agree with a few comments down about the 1800 creatives giving it away for free. Sure, a few of them might receive a nice cash prize, but where is the dignity?

Any idea worth creating takes time and a creative worth their salt should never work for free.

I think it's an incredibly ballsy move. That said, I can't really see the downside for V&S from this.

V&S are already personas non grata amongst those who view crowdsourcing as unethical. I don't think this latest move will significantly change that.

On the flipside, V&S get a bunch of free press, not to mention the attention of Harley.

When you think about it from the client's perspective, being aware that some potentially great work is already being developed would most certainly pique your interest.

The big rub here is that this is an easy pitch to clients. "Hey, want 1800 creatives on your next project?" How can they say no?

But while you're pleasing the client with quantity, you're simultaneously burning out a ton of good creatives who pitch ideas and don't get paid for them. How long can a model like that sustain itself before the well's dry?

Who is John Galt?

Yeah sure....I want work from 1,800 creatives that know nothing about my business. V&S puts work ahead of doing any deep dive into the real business problems.

I guess the V&S model might work for companies that just want one-offs or are pure retail, but a complicated brand that needs a solid strategic re-work before any work is done loses.

You should crowdsource things like "where should I eat tonight, I'm new in town?"....that's about it.

If I am the brand manager at Harley, I am sending a cease and desist as soon as possible...I get the concept, I appreciate the value of co-creation and crowd sourcing...however, alarm bells should be ringing when someone enlist 1,800 folks to tinker with your brand from a brief that has no vetted strategic input from your own organization with the potential of those iterations popping up across the net. Seems a desperate attempt that really under values both the strategic and creative elements of our business. V+S has an interesting and valuable concept, but ought to be purposefully executed. Would actually make me think twice about taking my work to them if I knew they were this brazen about self-promotion.

Harley responded and told V&S to go for it. Ha:

One More Time:
A big idea takes time and energy. Any creative worth their salt should never work for free.

Sounds to me like V&S has a creative staff of 1800 suckers. . . Well, minus the 4 or 5 who actually get paid. I mean, let's be honest here. Creatives get into advertising because they don't want to starve like real artists. They want a steady paycheck and they fucking earn it.

still throwing rotten tomatoes at v&s after all this time = zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. booorrrring. you guys need to get yerself some of yer own press. discussing where AOR and agency-to-client relations is really going is a better use of your time b/c it's what's relevant. whether it's changing b/c of V&S (doubtful) or if v&s is gaining traction b/c the industry is organically changing is a better topic of convo than simple hate on crowdsourcing. (yeah yeah we get it, lots of folks hate it) but EVERY thing changes. if you don't know that, aren't thinking about that, contemplating how you can affect that, then no wonder you're left to rant & moan on a blog ABOUT advertising industry vs being a force that influences CHANGE in the advertising industry. Just sayin'...

@all you old people

Why do you hate change so much? If you want to have a life without change, go move into a retirement community.

Change is a natural force. Either adapt or go the way of the dodo.

If you don't like how v&s functions make your own system.

@justsayin' ehigh-five

@seriously? @justsayin' Can you show me one example of a better than average execution that came from the crowd? V&S did an AWESOME job on the Vigin America campaign (not from the crowd) and totally tanked on the Dish Network account (from the crowd). I'm all for (re)evolution in the industry, but crowd sourcing is not the end all be all solution.

Change is great. Change is inevitable. Change should be embraced. And creatives should get PAID FOR THEIR TIME. That's all I'm saying.

It's simple, if you don't like it don't do it. If you're threatened by crowdsourcing, then you should evaluate your own skills.

It is a sweatshop tomes two. It is a disgusting practice and a disgusting group of people involved with it.

Join the Creative Cloud Boycott and save our industry.

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