Despite all the changes and threats to the advertising industry that have come with technology evolution, there are still giant agencies that dominate the creative awards circuit and pull in the bulk of revenue. There have been a few attempts to change the model, and websites like 99 Designs have surely annoyed many a studio, but few have cut through to really shake the big dogs. One Canadian startup might not think it will overhaul the current model, but it is hoping the market will at least open their minds to a new model.

GiantHydra,founded by Ignacio Oreamuno, an ad man known for his industry community website ihaveanidea, and takes crowdsourcing to a more informed and creative audience. The concept was devised over two years ago, and now counts Ogilvy, Taxi and TBWA as clients.

It calls itself a ‘mass collaboration unit’ and is a tool for ad agencies lookingto increase the breadth of ideas.

“When engaged in an important pitch or big client project, ad agencies will now be able to tap into a collective and collaborative pool of concept developers that will provide ideas and executions in quantity and quality that could not be matched by traditional in-house teams,” Oreamuno says in a release. “GiantHydra will unite a living, breathing community of creative professionals who not only create new ideas and executions, but work together, building upon each others’ concepts in ways too difficult to achieve in a real-world office environment. A TV idea created by someone in Stockholm could be developed into a social media campaign by someone in Buenos Aires and into a web viral by someone in Seattle… the possibilities are endless.” 

GiantHydra calls on ‘HydraHeads’ who register by proving they’ve got a bit of creative nous and expertise and can then be called upon by agencies, who can browse their portfolios and choose someone suitable for the task. Agencies can choose many ‘heads’ who then work together online to generate ideas. GiantHydra claims that when the project is finished the ‘heads’ are paid a ‘competitive fee’.

Andrew Wilson, partner at The Other Dimension and regular Marketing mag blogger, can see merit in the idea but isn’t completely sold on it.

"Anyone located anywhere can work on web development, for instance – but when we're talking about generating ideas at a conceptual level, cultural nuances are important,” he tells Marketing mag. “It’s hard to apply people scattered globally to a local problem, because the local problem often requires local knowledge"

Wilson sees potential pitfalls with the online group brainstorm concept as well, where all creatives share a level footing.

“There are issues with design by committee,” Wilson says. “With no hierarchy, there’s no one person driving the central idea like a creative director would.

“My other question would be about the people being used (the ‘heads’),” Wilson continues. “There’s likely to be an over representation of young and semi-employed types. I’m not sure what the remuneration package is like, but many creatives are contractually bound to their employer, so that limits the talent pool.”

With GiantHydra just coming out of Beta mode, time will tell if this extra rung in the creative process will take off, and what it will mean for the industry if it does. What do you think, can this model work? Is it a threat to the dominance of large agencies, as smaller agencies could use the same service and the same people in the idea generation process? Drop a comment below or connect with us on Twitter via @MarketingMag