Advertising agency TBWA London has defended a new marketing campaign which invites consumers to come up with ideas about how to promote Sony products.
Titled The Big What Adventure, it's billed as "An experiment whose goal is to both seek out and nourish creativity, wherever it may be." The BWA website invites visitors to "submit ideas for real briefs", and come up with concepts for online ad campaigns, TV ads, posters, events and packaging. Products featured on the site include the PlayStation 3 and the SingStar series of games.
The site promises a "reward" for anyone who comes up with an idea which is used. However, as spotted by Private Eye magazine, the site's terms and conditions section reveals that TBWA will own the intellectual property rights to all content submitted, and will be able use it "without payment" to the creator.
Private Eye described the initiative as "an attempt to get the public to do TBWA's work for them" - but executive planning director Neil Houston told GamesIndustry.biz, "Thebigwhatadventure.com is an experiment in open source creativity - nothing more, nothing less.
"More and more creative ideas and campaigns are non traditional in their form, often relying on what we would conventionally call 'consumers' to at the least participate in - and often construct - the campaign itself.
"Learning how to collaborate and create with people outside of the conventional realms of the advertising community is something that we think is important."
According to Houston, all briefs featured on the site are "being worked on within our creative department with at least as much vigour as any other brief in our system".
"We are not relying on 'outsiders' to crack the brief - we have invited them to participate in the creative process with the full consent of our clients, who incidentally are at least as curious as us about this experiment," he continued.
"If and when an 'outsider' cracks the brief, we will reward them appropriately - in much the same way as we would reward one of the many work experience placements that travel through our creative department on a regular basis - with the right combination of financial reward, personal fame and / or career progression."