Dis­cov­er­ing ididthatad.com

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE - BY KELLY BEROLD

If you’re in the lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ing game then you’ve most prob­a­bly heard of ididthatad.com, an on­line in­dus­try show­case and search tool that links agen­cies with lo­cal cre­atives worth notic­ing. Fin­week caught up with Julie Maun­der, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive creative direc­tor of DDB Cape Town and the brains be­hind the plat­form, to talk about leav­ing agency life to start her own gig and what’s next for ididthatad.com.

You’ve launched a site for in­dus­try cre­atives – what in­spired the need for this site and how did you go about do­ing that?

Be­fore we launched the site three years ago, ad­ver­tis­ing cre­atives look­ing to hire free­lancers, part-time and full-time staff for projects would have to sift through out­dated reels or rely on rec­om­men­da­tions from art buy­ers or pro­duc­ers, which be­came a lengthy, labour­in­ten­sive process that was not al­ways ef­fec­tive. Ididthatad.com bridged that gap by cre­at­ing a plat­form that pro­vided agen­cies with an ex­ten­sive data­base of sought-af­ter in­dus­try cre­atives and places all their port­fo­lios into one space, mak­ing it eas­ier and faster to source re­li­able and rep­utable tal­ent.

Three years ago you were a suc­cess­ful creative direc­tor work­ing for some of the more for­mi­da­ble agen­cies in the coun­try. Why did you de­cide to leave the agency life be­hind?

It wasn’t so much a de­ci­sion to leave agency life but more a re­ac­tion to a mar­ket op­por­tu­nity that I spot­ted and couldn’t re­sist. Af­ter 11 years in the in­dus­try, I saw a gap and a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that I as a creative direc­tor was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at the time. I loved cre­at­ing in the ad world, but I wanted to cre­ate and work on some­thing that would make a dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives, and some­thing that I could be per­son­ally pas­sion­ate about. It also made sense to me to work on a busi­ness model that wasn’t time based, and I had reached a point where I wanted to work on some­thing that could grow into a sus­tain­able busi­ness and not just work longer hours.

How do sites like ididthatad.com make money?

Like many on­line busi­nesses, we be­gan by test­ing the con­cept in the mar­ket, ini­tially launch­ing the site with no real busi­ness model to see who would use it and

how. Once we gauged the re­sponse, we launched pre­mium prod­ucts like the SA Film Reel, and be­gan pro­duc­ing spe­cial­ist con­tent pieces in­clud­ing Cannes and Lo­eries Pre­dic­tions. This en­abled us to build up a niche tar­geted sub­scriber base of en­gaged users, as well as to part­ner up with spon­sors and to cre­ate ad­di­tional rev­enue streams.

With the launch of the new site later this year, we’ll be adapt­ing the busi­ness model ac­cord­ing to what we have learnt so far. It’s an or­ganic process of learn­ing what works and then adapt­ing to that.

What’s your big­gest gripe with the lo­cal in­dus­try right now?

When our cre­atives win big awards, many seem to think that the an­swer to their next move is to go over­seas. As a re­sult of this grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side view, we’re los­ing a lot of our top tal­ent.

We’re also push­ing our cre­atives, our strate­gists and our clients to im­prove their work and to think dif­fer­ently, but we don’t re­think the way we charge for the work. It has been the same since I be­gan in the in­dustr y and I ’m sure for many years be­fore that.

Who are you cur­rently part­ner­ing with, and what can we ex­pect from you over the next year?

We’re tak­ing what we’ve learnt over the years and us­ing that to launch our new site, which we aim to roll out at the end of the year. We started out as a lo­calised ad in­dus­try data­base, but now we’re ex­pand­ing to in­clude all creative projects, which is why we’ll be drop­ping the ‘ad’ i n our brand name and piv­ot­ing to ididthat.net.

We’re also cur­rently work­ing with both the Lo­eries and the Creative Cir­cle (SA’s ad­ver­tis­ing board) in a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort to pro­mote and ex­e­cute great con­tent (and great ideas) for the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, so we’ve got a very ex­cit­ing year ahead with a lot of new de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line.

Do you have any ad­vice for those who want to go it alone?

Start – a great idea is only an idea un­til you start work­ing on it. If the idea doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth start­ing. Be ag­ile and adapt to cir- cum­stances. Learn from feed­back and use this to guide your next step. Work with peo­ple who are bet­ter than you, speak to as many as pos­si­ble. Fail fast and learn quickly. Oh, and it helps to have a trust fund ( I don’t!) or to find friends will­ing to help do the work for free (I do).

Julie Maun­der

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