Z3 and Talenthouse target adland for new crowdsourcing initiative

A conversation with Z3’s Karan Shetty, Talenthouse’s Arun Mehra and Draftfcb Ulka’s Haresh Moorjani about the creative challenge

Apr 05, 2012 12:54:00 PM | Article | Arati Rao

Talenthouse India has partnered with Z3 (the casual readymade brand from Zodiac Clothing) to crowdsource the first look for its creative campaign. The creative invite is titled ‘Crack the 360 for Z3’.

This is the second crowdsourcing partnership between Talenthouse and Zodiac. Last year, a model hunt had been undertaken for Zod, the partywear brand.

We caught up with Karan Shetty, marketing manager, Z3, Arun Mehra, chief executive officer, Talenthouse India, and Haresh Moorjani (known as Harry), creative director, Draftfcb Ulka (Zodiac’s agency), to find out more about the crowdsourcing initiative.

CI: What’s the background to this crowdsourcing initiative for Z3?

Karan Shetty (KS): We launched in 2008 as a brand. It was majorly targeted at an audience who do not necessarily need to wear a tie to office - so it could be men in media, software companies, advertising agencies and the like. With Zod, we wanted to target the trendy, chic dressing male who wanted to go out to party. The model hunt idea given to us by Talenthouse was very innovative. These were actually the guys who would wear a sharp shirt and go out. It did well for us to get the right audience to spread word of mouth about the brand.

When we come to Z3, the shirts have a summer look and feel to it. So, the idea was to create buzz for Z3 as a brand during the main season of summer, for the autumn-winter season. We gave a brief to Talenthouse saying that we want to target media and advertising people. Our campaigns are usually print-driven, but aren’t focused necessarily at our ideal target audience. Talenthouse came up with this idea that we target the advertising fraternity through the creative people. The proposal was to ask them to create a ‘first look’ or first advertising campaign for Z3. It isn’t necessarily aimed at those in creative; the guys in servicing and the films division will also talk about it and can participate.

Arun Mehra (AM): Crowdsourcing is about meaningful engagement, reaching out to the audience you want to address. What we’re looking at is engaging with the advertising fraternity. The moment someone engages or participates, his friends engage as well.

KS: From a marketing perspective, from the entries, you also get to know what people think about the brand. Whether this means that my brand strategy needs to change, these would be little pointers that help.

CI: Wouldn’t Draftfcb Ulka be insecure about a ‘first look’ being created by somebody else?

Haresh Moorjani (HM): Not really. It’s not like it’s a pitch. The advertising fraternity comprises a major chunk of the target group, but anybody can participate in the creative challenge. We aren’t necessarily looking at creative people - there could be an account planner with an idea who would ask a buddy to render it. Anybody can participate really. There is no clause that says only advertising guys only have to participate. The challenge is basically about the thought. All this is essentially a way to get people more involved with the brand which is meant for them, and probably go to the store and check it out.

AM: We are not competition to advertising agencies, but we work in partnership with them.

CI: Tell us about the mechanics of the crowd-sourcing initiative.

AM: Any CI (crowd-sourcing initiative) takes a good 8-10 weeks to execute because creative thinking takes time. These are people who will do it in their spare time. There was a Mongolian who won an Adidas contest with Talenthouse internationally, who was a dishwasher and a taxi driver during the day, and he would sit in the night and design. Voting is also completed within that time.

CI: What will be done to promote the creative challenge?

KS: From our side, we’re going to get it up on our Facebook page and promote it through our webstore. We’ll also have our own set of emailers that go out.

AM: From our side, the platform doesn’t require any external push. We are in contact with over 500 designers and art schools in the country. We have about 35,000 artists who have associated with us on Facebook. We have about 8000 designers who have participated in our previous contests in India. So we have a base of people that come to us. The power of this platform is that we reach out.

CI: For an agency, what kind of control do you keep on a CI?

HM: We have control over the brief that goes out and we make sure it is aligned to our belief of what the brand stands for.

CI: There is a chance though that you may get something dramatically different. Would Z3 be willing to take the leap?

KS: If it’s something that matches what we want, we can definitely use that as a base track to adapt to our look and feel.

CI: What is the spend like for a campaign like this?

AM: A platform like this isn’t very expensive for the kind of reach that you get. An average campaign of a sort like this where you reach out to over a million and a half to two million interactions on the social networking platform itself, plus the content that you create, is, I would say, for nothing less than Rs 15 lakh for a project like this. But if you flip it around, Micromax has spent a fraction of what they’ve spent to put out their logo, for the CI. Money isn’t the opportunity out here. Some people believe in CI, some want engagement with the TG; the platform delivers.