If so, here's an amazing opportunity. MDC Partners offers you a million dollars for 51% stake in your new ad agency. Sounds like a sweet deal. A sweet deal for MDC, that is.
There's at least one problem with this whole idea. First, I can't help but think that it came a decade too late; back then, ambitious and smart people were obsessed with founding agencies, and the hefty amount would be more than welcome in those dot-com bust days. (A side note: even back then, doubt that someone would be happy with a 51% cut, but anyway).Today, ambitious and smart people fund their own tech startups, and in what may come as a great surprise to MDC execs, none of those startups deal with advertising business.
Simply, "great talent" today has actually figured that money's not in advertising. It's in many, many other things that you can create, build, and execute online. If brands wants to use those things - that's great. But MDC's criteria that, in order to be considered for their contest, you need to do "brilliant work, you want to make brands famous, and you want to drive results for clients" sound, in the context of digital innovation, close to arrogant. Guess what, smartest kids in town are a little bit more ambitious than making some brand famous.
Second, if the idea is so awesome, why VCs or angels haven't already thought of it? VCs are notorious for NOT investing in agencies. Now, those guys are entrepreneurial, money-making oriented people, willing to invest in anything and everything with a potential to return their investment. So, if they are investing in plethora of start-ups, yet curiously leave agency business aside, there must be a reason for it. Hint: not enough money.
And third: there may be, after all, some people who, in MDCs own words, say "let's spend our lunch hours for the next three weeks putting something together." I am sure there are plenty of those who dream about having their own agency during their lunchtime (for the rest of us is still hard to simultaneously sleep and eat, but those are very talented individuals). The main problem is that those people are going to have their own agency almost always through client relationships, or to put it more crudely, by stealing a client away from their current employer. Worse things have happened.
The bottom line is that all those smart, entrepreneurial, and driven people whom MDC wants to entice with a lucrative 49% offer are already doing something else. That something else is curiously unrelated to marketing communication, and now may be the time for MDC to ask themselves why (maybe someone should offer them a million bucks to figure it out, too. Wouldn't bet, tho.)
Not only those people are doing something else, they manage to find money for it without help of a traditional industry middleman, be it in advertising agency or a publishing company. Just ask Bud Caddell. Instead of asking a publisher to back up his first book, Bud has secured the funding according to the true rules of the web, by asking people to contribute through KickStarter (Bud's book itself is a collaboration, too.)
But the biggest, and a very real problem is that brands have also figured this out. They are starting to give money to startups directly (think PepsiCo10) in exchange for collaboration in the relatively new marketing areas of mobile and social media. Some industry people have apparently figured some of this too, as they created Victors&Spoils. These things are new, interesting, and where the money and action are.
So, yeah, an awesome idea, MDC. I'd almost say "a million dollar one," but that brings me too close to home.