It used to be that a company looking to market its product went to an ad agency and asked for a television commercial or print advertisement. Now advertisers can create web videos, branded editorial content and more.
Those jobs are often too small for a traditional ad agency. So where does a brand go to commission such projects?
Miracle Mile startup the IdeaLists has created an online marketplace for advertisers to find and hire creative studios for these types of marketing campaigns.
The IdealLists platform, which launched last week, asks a company to fill out a short survey about the type of project it needs completed, its budget and other relevant details. The platform then scans its database of more than 6,000 approved creatives for the best matches. Those studios receive an email with the project details and can draft a proposal to send to the company, which ultimately selects one vendor to complete the project.
A startup could use the service to design its website, for example. Or a shoe company could find a production studio to help it create a YouTube video.
The IdeaLists makes its money by charging vendors a 10 percent commission for every job they accept.
To ensure that the IdeaLists' platform attracts legitimate customers and high-quality vendors, the company screens all creatives before allowing them onto the site. It also prevents people from trolling the marketplace by requiring vendors to pay $5 for every project they bid on, and charging clients a $99 deposit, which is returned once the company selects a vendor.
Adam Glickman founded the IdeaLists in 2010 as a concierge service to help brands find creative studios. During the last three years, the company has worked with more than 300 clients, including large brands such as Coca-Cola and American Express and startups such as Airbnb and Warby Parker.
Glickman said he always planned on turning the IdeaLists into a larger scale business by launching a self-serve platform. So about six months ago he raised $1.7 million in seed invetment to fund the new platform and brought on angel investor Csaba Konkoly as president.
The 15-person company plans to continue to run its concierge service for larger projects, but Glickman said any project less than $20,000 could run now through its self-serve platform.
The IdeaLists isn't trying to take away business from bigger ad agencies, Glickman said, but help smaller design studios profit from the growing landscape for branded content and online marketing campaigns.
"This is not a replacement to an ad agency," he said. "It opens a marketplace up to people who wouldn't be using an ad agency."