Crowd Sourced Ad Campaigns: Genius Rocket Leverages 1.4 Million Critics

Expensive ad agency solutions regularly push video and rich media ad campaigns into six figures. AdReady, Mixpo and others have used templates, stock footage, networks and other solutions to bring the cost down.

How about crowd sourcing the creative? Genius Rocket, a three year old startup launched by former VerticalNet and AOL Executive Mark Walsh, “crowd sources” RFPs on an NDA basis to pre-qualified creative teams, many of whom are moonlighting from their day jobs with major agencies.

The Bethesda, MD-based company currently sends RFPs out to more than 400 teams and regularly gets 50 or more entries. Bake off winners get the right to develop campaigns with Genius Rocket, cutting costs down by as much as 75 percent to the $10k to $30k level sought by large local SMBs, such as car dealers, hospitals and others. The concept is similar to crowdsourcing solutions for logos originally developed by LogoWorks and initially pursued by Genius Rocket, along with contests and other creative.

Walsh and company president Peter LaMotte, in a discussion with BIA/Kelsey, says they’ve found video to be a lot more complex than graphic design – but that also creates an effective barrier to entry. “There may be one witty idea that is not produced well, says Lamotte. “Or just the opposite: a campaign that is produced well but is off message.”

The use of crowd-sourcing gives Genius Rocket a multitude of choice and ideas. Its 10 person team can help facilitate and improve production, but more importantly, it links the end result from The Top Three contenders with a community of online critics that has grown to 1.4 million. The critics, including retirees and others, are incented to participate with contests and coupons. Walsh says that millions of dollars of prize awardshave been granted.

At a higher level, Genius Rocket also works with former AdAge ad critic Bob Garfield, who provides a qualitative evaluation of every strategic, live-action campaign. He’s very influential. One imagines a lot of companies would go with Genius Rocket just to get a critique from him.

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