The Creator Economy — Reinventing the creative agency

What if brands stopped hiring agencies and worked directly with creative freelancers on their creative advertising campaigns? Our aim is to make entrepreneurs out of creative freelancers and send waves through the industry.
Elco Ian
August 25, 2021

What if brands stopped hiring agencies and worked directly with creative freelancers on their creative advertising campaigns? Our aim is to make entrepreneurs out of creative freelancers and send waves through the industry.

I’d like to share the new Paintgun mission with you. This blog outlines our plan to build a decentralised creative agency, which rewards creative freelancers with commissions.

Paintgun’s mission explained in three sections:

The creator economy and creative freelancers

"New integrated platforms empower entrepreneurs to monetize individuality and creativity." - Li Jin

We all love the creator economy. Whether you can manage to earn a living streaming video-games, baking cakes or writing about Dogecoin to your niche audiences, we love it - because it is usually fueled by curiosity and passion. According to Li Jin, we are now entering the 4th era of this creator economy.

The 4 Era’s of The Creator Economy:

  1. The rise of social networks and UGC platforms. Everyone was a creator. We used these platforms to communicate with each other. We saw the first influential creators. This fueled the rise of the creator class on the internet.
  2. People started to amass online influence, fame and monetise their followers through advertising. Creators became influential, but they were always the conduit for some other business to reach its goals. Brands would use creators as a channel for advertising. This created influencer platforms, marketplaces, merchtools, etc.
  3. Creators then realised they could “become the business”. They did not need to show someone else’s product or brand, but instead they could become the brand and be the business themselves. This era produced: Substack, Patreon, NFTs.
  4. In the 4th era of the Creator Economy, creators do not just try to create a business on and off themselves and have a transactional relationship with their audience. Instead, they are blending the line between audience and the creator - via crypto, creator DAO’s, etc.

The idea of the creator economy is the process and system by which people are able to monetise and accrue value financially for the content they are producing online. Could the creator economy also help to reinvent traditional value chains e.g. creative advertising agencies?

What if brands stopped hiring agencies and worked directly with creative freelancers on their creative advertising campaigns?


How do you price creativity when matchmaking creative freelancers with brands?

"By and large talent is in such short supply, mediocrity can be taken for brilliance rather more than genius can go undiscovered" - Charles Saatchi

Creatives

So many creative professionals experience the same problem. They want to pursue their artistic passion. But they also need to pay the bills. Commercial work strips time from their art. They need a portfolio to build up a reputation, to signal how much they can charge. But it’s not easy for independent creatives to succeed this way. Commercial creativity is priced as a commodity, while in reality it is not. There is too little transparency on the pricing of creativity. There are often substantial budgets involved in these commercial projects, which the creatives don’t see much of. What if creatives were given a seat at the table? Through digital advertising you can see that one creative’s work is worth 100x more than the next person. Shouldn’t this creative also be paid accordingly? 

Brands

Yearly paid social ad revenue is reaching $90B+. And ad-creative is the number one lever to get good results. Brands are competing for attention in the post-attention economy. With information growing exponentially, it is only getting harder. Creative is king. But the market doesn’t know yet how to differentiate high vs low quality ad-creatives. After an analysis of $150M in Facebook ad spend it was found that between 85-95% of Facebook ads fail. The top 5% of ad-creatives typically have about 90% of all the ad spend. The challenge for brands: to find or produce the top 5% ad-creative. In order to find this, brands are looking for a high volume of differentiated ad-creatives to find winners. Acquiring ad-creative at this quantity becomes too costly and time consuming for most marketing teams.


A two-sided platform which rewards creative freelancers with commissions

“I like that you are proposing a way to compensate people according to their impact” - BJ Fogg, PhD, Behavior Scientist at Stanford University

Platform for brands

Paintgun is the first decentralised creative agency to offer creative social media advertising on a pure performance basis. Brands only pay for results. The deal terms are: unlimited creative assets* + performance marketing support, pay between 6-10% on ad spend on ad-creative that runs. It’s a customer centric approach: brands login and see a feed of ad-creative content which they can push to Facebook. They turn on/off when they want. And pay a rate which is clear.

Platform for creatives

Paintgun is the first creative job platform which pays creative freelancers commission based on ad spend. Our aim is to make entrepreneurs out of creative freelancers and send waves through the industry. Creatives get paid based on how their work performs, Paintgun shares part of the earnings with creatives. One of our Motion designers made one ad for us that brought in $45k in revenue for the company. It was a success. For his next job he’ll receive 25% of Paintgun’s earnings on his work. If he can repeat his success he’ll make $11k from that one job.

Platform economics

Today brands pay us between 6-10% of spend on all our ads that run. Innovators like ClearCo charge D2C brands 6% on advancing ad spend (replacing VC), Paintgun charges 6% for creative services (replacing agencies). This makes the cost of capital 6% and the cost of creativity 6%. The business opportunity is huge – if you could charge 6% of all Facebook’s revenue (= ad spend in a year), that’s $5b. We envision the future earnings split on our platform as follows: ⅓ to creative team, ⅓ creative community, ⅓ Paintgun (inspired by Stanford’s IP model).

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