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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  ihaveanidea’s 2009 Annual Report

ihaveanidea’s 2009 Annual Report

Posted on December 21, 2009 and read 3,017 times

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brettcreditpic ihaveanideas 2009 Annual ReportBrett McKenzie
Chief Writer, SBN2

When I first sat down to reflect on what the 2009 was like for us at ihaveanidea, my mind first went to the things we didn’t do. Global recession, economic downturn, financial nosedive, whatever you wish to call it, purse strings were firmly tightened all over the advertising industry, and ihaveanidea was no exception. This meant fewer trips to various world cities and less time hobnobbing with creative directors on their turf. We also ended up skipping out on Cannes this year. No holding court at the Carlton terrace or the Gutter Bar, no tearing up various dance floors, no annual drunken photo with David Droga (sorry Dave, I know it broke your heart not seeing us.) We convinced ourselves we weren’t missing anything, clinging onto the virtue of having our first sober late June in years.

Yes, 2009 was a fat-trimming year at ihaveanidea in certain aspects. But in other ways, in more important ways, there has never been a bigger year at ihaveanidea.

We started the year off by trying a new twist to a very popular section of the site: the Creative interview. Everybody’s favourite nomadic CD Erik Vervroegen was in our neck of the woods, and we thought it would be cool to try our very first video interview with him and Sid Lee Founder/ECD Philippe Meunier, getting our questions from our viewers and readers. While our technical and cinematography skills weren’t stellar (extra batteries next time guys!) it was a lot of fun, and Erik and Phil were great sports. We haven’t done this interview format since then, but who knows what the future will bring?

2009 also marked ihaveanidea’s eighth year of existence. Now eight years is a very long time in internet years, and we couldn’t have reached that milestone without listening to our fans’ thoughts. The thing is, most of those thoughts came to us in the form of boozy conversations at award shows and whatnot. This past January, we decided to remedy this and take a more formal approach to getting feedback from our visitors. To this end, we launched the first ever ihaveanidea user survey. Massive in scope, we looked to find out as much we could about visitors, from the casual observers who only popped on a few times to read a very specific thing, to the hardcore fans who spend all day on the site when they should be making ads.  More importantly, we wanted those people to tell us what they liked – and didn’t like – about ihaveanidea. Which sections did they visit most often, and which ones could disappear without them noticing? What kinds of articles and interviews would they enjoy seeing?

When we wrapped up the survey in February, we were happy to see that nearly 10,000 people from all over the world participated in the survey, from first year ad students to worldwide CCOs and even people from the client and production sides of the business. Over a third of the respondents soldiered through and answered every single section they could, even the long form answer ones. To those brave troopers, we salute you!

Some interesting things we learned:

  • The ihaveanidea audience skews a little older than we anticipated, with the largest segment of our visitors in their late 20s and early 30s.
  • While we always knew that the UK had our largest European audience, we were surprised to see that number two was Romania.
  • A significant portion of our audience was first introduced to ihaveanidea via Portfolio Night, while another group found out about us through the Jancy book “Pick Me.”
  • The single biggest complaint about ihaveanidea was the anonymity of its users, which emboldened some users to constantly bash work and ridicule others.

So what did we intend to do with the vast of info we collected? Patience dear readers, it will all be answered in a moment…

…but first we must talk about the jewel on the ihaveanidea calendar crown, Portfolio Night 7! Let me start by saying I’m not going to sugarcoat things; the economic collapse of late 2008-early 2009 meant that this year’s Portfolio Night was far from a sure thing. We worked non-stop trying to secure global partners and host cities to make Portfolio Night a reality, but the true reality was that budgets were extremely tight, and many companies that would normally be more than happy to support the event now had to reconsider. By the time March and April rolled around, we only had a handful of cities on board, and only our friends at Corbis returning as a Global Partner. We were bracing ourselves for a much smaller Portfolio Night this year.

But as the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. Perhaps spurred by our belief that it takes fresh, young, technologically savvy talent who don’t think in terms of 30 second TV spots to really turn the industry around, and that no event brings out such talent like Portfolio Night, all of a sudden we had a tremendous swell of support behind PN7. Ogilvy & Mather, led by new Worldwide CCO Tham Khai Meng, picked up the torch and became Global Partner, encouraging their local shops to get behind the event.

Portfolio Night 7 was scheduled to take place over a few days in June, and as we approached the dates, the somber feeling of perhaps not being able to have Portfolio Night this year was replaced by a sense of excited optimism. In a year of doom and gloom, Portfolio Night was going to be happening in twenty global cities, only two shy of the previous year’s record. This included six cities that would be holding Portfolio Night for the very first time: Lisbon, Dubai, Beirut, Tunis, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur.

In the end, Portfolio Night 7 ended up being a huge success. Over 1,700 aspiring young creatives and 600 creative directors participated around the world, and some of the attendees even received jobs and internships out of the evening. Corbis, Ogilvy, all of the host agencies and their sponsors went all out to ensure that the excitement of Portfolio Night would not be dampened by the global economy. We at ihaveanidea cannot thank everybody enough for digging deep and keeping Portfolio Night alive and strong! And for those who missed out, you can check out all of the photos, promo videos and event videos here, here, and here respectively.

The final Portfolio Night 7 date was Tuesday, June 16th in New York City, and if you had visited the ihaveanidea website that day, you were in for a big surprise. You know that gigantic survey we did earlier in the year? That wasn’t just so we could figure out the male/female ratio of our visitors or stats like that. What we really wanted to know is how we could make the ihaveanidea site better. We took all of the suggestions we received, looking for common trends. We found out what was working for some people and what wasn’t. Then we put on our digital boots and went to work, building and launching an all-new ihaveanidea website.

One of the first things we wanted implement was strengthening ihaveanidea’s community. Not because “social networking” has become a catchphrase over the past year or two, but because from Day One ihaveanidea has been about connecting people in the ad world, sharing thoughts, ideas, expertise and opinions in order to build everyone’s knowledge. So we took a few cues from the survey suggestions and made it easier for ihaveanidea fans to recognize and connect with one another. We made it necessary to register to participate and access certain content, and did away with anonymous negativity. There are so many other sites where you can giggle behind aliases while spreading malicious gossip, but we heard loud and clear that you the people wanted more positivity. Now if we could only get those people who asked for it to use the Forum a little more…

Other changes that stemmed directly from your input included a Portfolios section for people to showcase their work. The Inbox offers a daily dose of “hey, did you see that?” to tide visitors over until the next article or interview. Those interviews have been more frequent and have gone beyond the usual suspects of North American traditional ad guys. The new Agencies section allows ad shops to join the community and show off a bit, uploading recent and historical work. And Ask Jancy now allows for members of the ihaveanidea community to add comments in case people have a different take on their advice.

The new ihaveanidea is far from perfect – there were still a few kinks to iron out over the summer – but the good news is that the new ihaveanidea is far from finished. Since the “official” launch of the new site right after Labour Day, we’ve made subtle changes that were only found to be necessary once we had a few thousand people kicking the tires a bit. Rest assured we’ll continue to listen to your suggestions and continue to make the ihaveanidea site a more enjoyable place to visit.

What’s in store from us at ihaveanidea in 2010? Well if you’ve been keeping an eye on the banners on the site, you would know that planning for Portfolio Night 8 is well under works, and is already guaranteed to be the biggest one yet. Ogilvy and Corbis are both returning as Global Partners, and they’ll be joined by a new Global Partner to be announced after the holidays. Portfolio Night will be returning to former PN cities London and Mexico City, and will also take place for the very first time in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dublin, Stockholm. Brussels, Cairo, Jeddah, Mumbai, Shanghai and Taipei… and more cities will be added in the coming months! I’m thinking it’s entirely possible that on May 20th, 2010, PN8 will take place in twice as many cities as this year. Forty cities!? I can remember way back in the first year when Portfolio Night was only three cities!

The ihaveanidea team also has a few other things that have been turning around in our heads for quite some time, and 2010 looks to be the year that we bring those ideas to life. While some of those ideas are still being fleshed out, I strongly suggest you visit the site more often in the new year. You might just find out what we’ve been cooking!

Well that’s about it from ihaveanidea-land! On behalf of Ignacio, Brendan, Nat, Jay, Mimi, Rafik and Stephanie, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being with us, and for joining the new ihaveanidea. Have a safe and happy holiday and we’ll see you in ’10!




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