Mike Fromowitz
Mar 21, 2013

Hey, I need a big idea by tomorrow!

In its quest to be the agency model of the future, a new virtual agency that bills itself as the “World’s Fastest Agency” (WFA) was launched this past week.

Hey, I need a big idea by tomorrow!

The new ad agency is based entirely on Twitter and claims to deliver creative ideas to clients in 24 hours or less. The process of getting your advertising is simple, so the agency’s website claims, and it’s all done without any face-to-face interactions.

There are three steps to this process:

Step 1: Deposit a one-time agency fee of $999 via PayPal
Step 2: Send the brief via Twitter Direct Message to @fastestagency
Step 3: Within 24 hours, clients receive the creative pitch via Twitter direct message

You’ve read correctly. The WFA charges $999 for a 140-character presentation. While this new agency’s model might seem like a crazy idea,  WFA founder Floyd Hayes says he has received 800 emails. These include 20 freelance offers from creatives and six internship propositions, as well as three paying clients.

Mr Hayes is the former Creative Director of Cunning, which bills itself as “The world’s first specialized guerrilla and non-traditional advertising agency”.  His website bio notes that he “brings over a decade of global, Fortune 500 experience developing marketing platforms and tactics that demand attention, earn engagement and spur audience action.”

Hayes has made headlines for his strange and creative ideas in the past, and with his new agency, he’s continuing to make waves. “I believe that in a world where media can be anything, the idea has to be everything,” he says. “In short, I develop ideas to sell your stuff.”

Mr. Hayes use to work on Mini while he was a creative at Cunning in London. So he uses the following hypothetical example for how the WFA’s new business proposition works: A car company gives the brief: "Gain media and buzz for our park-anywhere small car." The response: "Attach replica cars to landmark city buildings."

Very cool indeed.

However, it seems to me that some clients may need far more follow up and clarification of the 140 character idea. If the company doesn't immediately get the "vision," this could be a wasted investment. So what happens if the client misunderstands the short message?

Mr Hayes says that a short message forces a team to focus [their problem into 140 characters] as opposed to waffling on and on. I wish Mr Hayes the best of luck with his new venture.

No doubt about it, clients are putting the pressure on agencies to come up with concepts faster and faster. And indeed, some of them are getting the junk they pay for.

I would argue that while speed to market is important to clients, rushing to market with half-baked ideas are not good for anybody. I also believe that collaboration with clients helps to contribute to great advertising. Agencies work best when they don't develop ideas in a vacuum.

There’s a diagram I was sent some months ago by a creative director friend of mine in Australia. It shows a series of overlapping circles labeled FAST, GREAT and CHEAP and allows you to “pick only two.” Where FAST and CHEAP overlap, you get “Dipped in ugly sauce with haste and carelessness.” Where CHEAP and GREAT overlap, you get “Just in time to be too late.” And where GREAT and FAST overlap, “You get what you pay for.” At the axis of all three, “Impossible Utopia.”

The point of the diagram is this: you won’t get amazing work without time and/or budget. Something’s got to give.

Update:

It seems that some other ad folks have started a parody Twitter account for the WFA service. The @WorstFastAgency claims to give clients terrible ideas for only $1 in 12 hours. This is after two creatives launched the @2ndFastestAgenc, which will tweet an idea for $9.99. Looks like Hayes started a trend.

 

Mike Fromowitz

OCTANE

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