David Jones mentioned that Havas was about to buy a crowd-sourcing company when he was chatting merrily to WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell on the radio the other day and now he’s revealed what it is: Victors & Spoils in Boulder, Colorado.
Victors & Spoils was founded in 2009 by two refugees from Boulder’s Crispin Porter +Bogusky, John Winsor and Evan Fry, who teamed up with Claudia Batten, co-founder of the gaming ad network Massive (pictured). The three continue to own a minority stake in the shop. Another investor was Kirshenbaum Bond founder Jon Bond.
Bond is enjoying the sort of run that makes bookmakers close your account at the moment, recently selling his Big Fuel social media agency to Publicis Groupe for a tidy sum. Big Fuel lost its biggest account, General Motors, shortly after.
Havas’s Jones isn’t saying what he paid for Victors & Spoils (the tease) although speculation is rife that it was several million dollars. Crowd-sourcing agencies are a contentious issue to put it mildly, some observers wondering what it is exactly that they do. As Tom Messner said on Adscam: “Why did Jones pay millions for a crowd-sourcing company… couldn’t he have crowd-sourced it and got it for peanuts?”
Jones, though, seems serious about re-inventing Havas as a kind of digital ideas company and that’s going to take you into territory that some see as occupied by snake oil merchants. One of his plans for V&S is to set up a 15,000 strong Havas ‘crowd’ to produce ideas. What’s not an issue is that an increasing number of clients are willing to try just about any remedy to assuage the pain of connecting to the digital generation.