why we WANT to work for free...

Believe it or not our ideal phone call would be from a company with a request to do all their advertising work for nothing - absolutely zilch.

Their proposal would be along the lines of 'Hi, we're company X. We want you to do lots of clever, advertising type work for us so we can grow our product and brand - but we can't afford to pay you. Are you interested?'

Most people's initial (and probably subsequent) reaction would be a polite but firm 'On your bike mate - do we look like a charity?!' Surely unless you actually make money out of a job it's not worth doing, right?

A short-term answer to that question is yes, but long-term there is an opportunity to grow our business by taking on such opportunities.

We spend a fair amount of time in the office bemoaning the fact that public transport marketing lacks ingenuity and real thought-provoking creativity. The majority of our work is for the larger Opcos where stakeholder influence is high and the willingness to take risk is low - so consequently the work their customers eventually see is reflective of this approach.

However there are some smaller companies out there who are answerable to no-one but themselves. And these plucky few are willing to take creative risk in order to grow their business. After all, they haven't got money so they have to think, right?

So why would we be happy to work for them for free?

Ever since we started this blog three years ago we have been lauding the merits of doing things differently to get results - a principle that we believe would work for as much for a transport company as it would for a local butcher, baker or candle stick maker. Yet very few companies are prepared to really let you off the creative leash as there is very often too much at stake in turns of money spent, people kept happy and boxes ticked.

But we believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating and are willing to put our creative thinking to the test. Once the approach has been proven to work, we will have a definitive case study to show other companies (who have significant budgets to spend) that being different can be commercially viable.

So if there is a company out there, big or small, who has the balls to ask us to do their work for free in return for total creative freedom, you might be surprised at the answer.