Now Vodafone tries crowdsourcing in search of a decent campaign – well it’s tried everything else

UK telecoms company Vodafone is a business phenomenon, turning a military radio business into a global leader in telecoms and one of the biggest British companies.

But producing any decent advertising seems completely beyond its serried ranks of executives, despite hiring numerous experienced marketers over the years and enjoying the services of Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the UK and yet another of WPP’s dedicated mini-agencies, this time based on JWT.

So it’s turned to the rather misleadingly-entitled ‘crowdsourcing,’ nothing to do with crowds but the practice of offering a brief in competition to the countless wannabees out there who want to make ads, or just films.

This one’s for its headline sponsorship of the McLaren Mercedes Formula One team and is for digital and social media ideas. There’s $10,000 for the lucky winner, about five per cent of what it would pay an agency.

Vodafone says this ‘Big Idea’ will bring ‘fun and playfulness’ to its advertising. It might even make somebody famous, like the winners of Pepsico’s Doritos exercises, which have produced some remarkably effective Super Bowl ads to be fair.

If you feel like entering I shouldn’t bother trying to contact McLaren’s two drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton though. I’ve a feeling they’ll be busy.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.