Joshua Eidlitz is either about to give agencies across the world
access to a treasure trove of young creative talent or to raise a lot of
hopes only to send them crashing.
Eidlitz is an 'ideas broker', linking creative directors eager for new
ideas with the vastly over-supplied market of creative wannabes who are
gagging to provide them.
'Have you ever had a great idea for a radio, TV, newspaper, magazine,
billboard and internet ad or slogan?' his website, Adyourideas.com,
asks. Students on creative courses at colleges across the US certainly
have. Indeed, 200 have signed up and await their first agency brief via
Creative directors are intrigued by the scheme in theory, but worried
about how it will work in practice. Particularly in its tantalising
effect on clients who always thought that they would be better off
bypassing agencies and getting the ads done themselves.
Eidlitz, 25, a Jewish studies student in Lakewood, New Jersey, was
inspired to set up the website after listening to complaints from
friends graduating from creative courses about the impossibility of
landing jobs with decent agencies.
The enthusiastic reaction when he trawled the idea among colleges in the
US, Europe and Australia encouraged him to take it up with agencies.
He has been targeting mostly middle-sized shops, shunning the Madison
Avenue leviathans, which he reckoned were unlikely to show interest, and
industry minnows that would present insufficient challenges.
Students, who can register on the site free of charge, join a 'virtual'
creative department, competing for briefs posted by agencies. The site
has been running for a month and, by the end of last week, had been
offered ten assignments by US shops. Eidlitz intends touting the scheme
to European agencies within the next three weeks.
Agencies deciding to use an idea pay dollars 200, half of which goes to
the student. If an agency is sufficiently impressed by a creative idea
to hire its author, Adyourideas takes a dollars 400 headhunting fee.
Students are enthusiastic. Rhys Edwards, now freelancing after
placements at TBWA/London, AMV Advance and Bates UK, would happily sign
He says: 'On placements you don't get much work because people don't
have time for you. This way you get to tackle real briefs.'
Creative directors, though, are less happy. Some worry about copyright
and confidentiality problems, although Eidlitz claims that many months
spent with lawyers have overcome ownership and non-disclosure
Others are concerned that it will fool some clients into thinking they
can bypass agencies.
David Wethey, managing director of Agency Assessments International,
feels agency anxieties are unnecessary because most clients would baulk
at managing the creative process themselves.
The big question, however, is whether the idea is fundamentally
Chris O'Shea, chairman of the IPA Creative Directors' Forum, believes
its appeal will never extend beyond small local advertisers.
Andrew Cracknell, the Bates UK executive creative director, claims it is
based on a misunderstanding of the way advertising works. He says:
'Advertising is about solving long-term problems with lasting ideas
involving different disciplines. This idea can only end in tears.'