• How does Team Darwin work?

    The quickest way to find out is to watch this video.
  • How many ideas will I get?

    Short answer: You’ll get one great one that you love and that is validated.

    Longer one: We say you’ll get more ideas than you’d get in a pitch. That would typically be at most 12 ideas (assuming 4 agencies and 3 ideas each). The reality is that in a pitch you’d normally get a lot fewer. There’s a never resolved question in agencies that are pitching – go in with one idea to show conviction, or go in with three to demonstrate breadth and hedge the bets? We aim to get around 25 quality ideas in. From that we cluster the ideas into territories and together with our client select the 10 strongest ones to go into our Survivors workshop where we consider effectiveness cues with experts from neuroscience. Our preferred partners for this are Neuro-Insight, the leading specialist in mapping brand communications.

  • Why wouldn’t I just run a pitch to get ideas? It’s free!

    Short answer: Free? Really?

    Longer one: In a big pitch an agency will spend well over £100K in time and overhead costs. Quite often there are hard costs too: research, freelancers, stunts etc. And given that the average pitch to win ratio is 1:3, the agency you pick will have to recoup the cost of both your pitch and the other pitches they didn’t win through your fees. The corollary question to ask yourself is why am I paying so much for implementation?

  • Who are the creatives?

    Short answer: They live around the world in advertising’s capital cities as defined by the Gunn Report

    Longer one: Some are advertising pros, often working in large agencies stuck on one or two brands, and frequently hamstrung by international guidelines.

    Some are dynamic freelancers continually adapting to be relevant now.

    Some are sparkling students, rushing into the world of communications with unfettered ideas.

    Others are artists, musicians, film makers, photographers, poets and authors who use their craft to tell stories in unexpected ways.

  • Do you think that the traditional agency model is dead?

    Short answer: No, but it is properly broken.

    Longer one: Agencies need repurposing. We believe ideation and implementation should be decoupled. We also believe that the selection of ideas should be subject to the most objective tests available, not the opinions of self-proclaimed gurus. We are anti-HIPPO (Highest Important Person’s Personal Opinion) as a methodology for picking a winner. We’re not saying a traditional agency has no role. A large brand needs a large agency structure to manage and execute its marketing. We’re just saying that it comes with limitations. And it’s no longer the best way to get ideas. After all, an agency’s job is to deliver a relevant message in an unexpected way. How can the same group of people day in and day out deliver the unexpected on the same piece of business? It’s time to put the value where it belongs – in the idea. And then pay a fair rate for efficient implementation.

  • How big is your community?

    Short answer: Not too big, not too small.

    Longer one: If we wrote down an exact number it would be inaccurate as soon as we published it. It’s changing all the time, and naturally not everyone is participating on all briefs. We prefer to keep our community full of concentrated and engaged talented people. We flex it so that it is big enough to get variety and quality, but small enough to give the creatives a meaningful chance which helps us keep participation levels high. For us this isn’t a numbers game, it’s a quality game so we’re evolving our community all the time to keep the best people interested.

  • What about confidentiality?

    Short answer: We’ll do our best.

    Longer one: We can release your brief to specific sets of people and also run closed contests with trusted individuals who will sign NDAs. We can release the brief to people based on country, and leave people out who are in a particular agency.

  • How do you make ideas more effective?

    Short answer: By using experts early on instead of shutting them out until it’s too late.

    Longer one: We host a development day with our clients where shortlisted ideas are reviewed. We invite the relevant experts from neuroscience, psychology, semiotics as well as specialists from the relevant discipline, whether it’s a TV ad or a social campaign.

    Key recommendations are fed back for inclusion into the final creative concept.

    Appropriate validation of ideas follows.

  • How do you know they’ll be effective?

    Short answer: We don’t.

    Longer one: There is a whole bunch of stuff we have no control over. Budgets, allocation of it, media selection, what your competitors do. But we believe in giving marketers as much objectivity as possible in choosing their ideas. We don’t like the HIPPO principle (The Highest Important Person’s Personal Opinion). Our offer of more ideas, objectivity in selection, and creative development incentivized and guided by effectiveness, will give you the best chance of outperforming the market.

  • Are you guys just milking poor creatives?

    Short answer: No way!

    Longer one: Our creative ambition is to get the best ideas out there, so we give creatives the opportunity to access exciting live briefs, and get decent rewards for their thinking. It gives them the opportunity to express themselves in an unlimited, unhindered way, without the politics and hierarchy of agency life that can be quite disheartening. And at the end of it, there’s some objectivity applied to the selection process, so the idea stands on its merits, not on anyone’s agenda. So we think this is great for creative.

  • What happens after an idea is selected? Do you make it, and how does that work?

    Short answer: We can if you like, or you can ask your existing agency to execute it.

    Longer one: We’ve decoupled ideation and implementation. We think a great idea is the most valuable thing an agency can provide. Execution, while critical, is reliably delivered through a predictable process. If you use us for implementation, our costs are low, based on FTE rates plus a bit for running and being responsible for the project. So we would bring an appropriate and approved-by-you team together to execute the idea.

  • Does the person whose idea gets chosen get involved?

    Short answer: Ideally, yes.

    Longer one: Read short one again.

  • Anything else?

    Get in touch, ask us and we’ll respond as soon as we can.