The Week: Best of the blogs - Outsourcing has benefits, Friday, 25 September 2009 12:00AM

There's always been discord in agencies over giving ideas away for free. But it was always a case of swings and roundabouts on the income front - you lost your idea, but gained someone else's in return. But if outsourcing becomes established, that model falls apart. Which looks bleak unless we look at this as a chance to renegotiate in our favour.

In the past, there was always mutual agreement between client and agency to not get bogged down in intellectual property, because of the "swings and roundabouts" argument.

But, like vandals down the park, Unilever's Peperami decision (to ditch its agency in favour of crowdsourcing) has broken the roundabout and pulled down the swings. And maybe one of the results will be that agencies find it easier to argue for some IP-related payment for initial idea generation in future.

Because it is only an ongoing relationship which provides an agency with the requisite market, brand and consumer understanding to develop an idea that actually delivers. And from the other side of the fence, it's that same relationship that allows a client to access the holistic skills and knowledge agencies can provide.

So, if outsourcing becomes a cost-effective way to work with a campaign idea, maybe now is the time for agencies to start revisiting remuneration of the initial idea development. Or, to put it another way, no more giving stuff away for free.

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