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04/3 2014

Tongal’s Left Field

“It just came out of left field I guess.”

We’re not sure why left field was the one designated as special.

The one where inspiration strikes!  Where ideas that are “just so crazy they might work” fly into our craniums out of the cloudless, crystal blue sky.

But that’s why Tongal’s Left Field is the name we chose for a brand new venue where you can develop truly BIG ideas.

Brands will use Tongal’s Left Field when they have challenges that need innovative and unexpected solutions; when they don’t have all the specifics about where they’re headed with a project; when they have a core idea of what they’re hoping to achieve, and a few specific assets (a brand, a product, a personality, a specific innovation – or an idea of their own) that they want to hear more IDEAS for.

We’ve advised our brand partners to use Tongal’s Left Field when they’re looking for a broad range of inspiration: when they don’t want to channel creative energy so much as release it.  It’s a place where your ideas can (and should) be bigger, bolder, and…well …“Left Fieldier.”

Tongal’s Left Field will also feature the option for a FOLLOW-ON Phase, where brands can take the ideas they generate and ask Tongal creatives to bring them to life for different platforms and venues:  Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram; as an APP; as a Billboard, as a Video….  Some Left Field challenges will actually begin at this phase, when the brand already has a big idea – but they want to know how to bring it to life on one or more platforms.

Tongal’s Left Field is starting with FIVE Big Challenges – a major band, two major brands, and two Mystery Sponsors:

KISS – (Yes, that KISS.)  …Tell Gene and Paul how to celebrate their 40th Anniversary!

LEGO – What do you want to see LEGO develop for YouTube?

Natural Light – What does “Act Natural” mean to you?

Mystery Sponsor – It’s time to get young teenage boys excited about BASEBALL CARDS again.  Tell us how!

Mystery Sponsor – Online dating: how would you persuade folks (still) unsure about it to try it?

If you want to contribute an idea to any or all of these  Left Field challenges –


The Tongal Blongal sat down with Tongal founder James De Julio – Tongal’s Left Field’s Architect & Chief-Groundskeeper — and asked him to share a few thoughts about this new addition to the Tongal environment.

What was the driving force behind Tongal’s Left Field?

Tongal’s Left Field is an Idea FIRST product.  For the most part, video has always been the main event at Tongal.  But, we’ve always believed that the Idea Phase for Tongal projects held the secrets of our universe, and we wanted to act on our belief that our community members can be game-changers: that they have the imagination to fuel whole campaigns, unique positioning, new products – you name it.

Did customers ask for this?

Yes, and more and more often of late. Clients have been eager to tap into the creative energy of or community on new levels with more frequency and outside the confines of simply “video ads”, to expand their thinking — get more ideas, more nuance.  They see the value of creative minds with lots of experience coming up with insight and solutions.

The briefs for Tongal’s Left Field are super brief – 140  characters max.  What does that do?

It focuses the challenge.  It requires that brands be very concise and specific about what they’re looking for and will result in more diversity in the solution set, more independent thought from the community.   The fewer the words, the more each one of them has to count, and we think that will give brands bigger and bolder stuff to work with.  We’re also going to keep the cycles short.  We’re seeing great benefit for keeping ideation rounds in the 72 hour or below range.

About the phases – how will ideas develop – what will Phase 2 of a Tongal’s Left Field challenge look like?

Phase 2 will be all about taking the big idea and applying it.  Our community can squeeze nerf balls for businesses and lob moonshots at rate never before possible on earth, but how can we take the results and create actionable marketing programs?  How can this Big Idea work as an app?  How can this Big Idea work on a billboard,?  As a video?

Any other tricks up your sleeve?

Well, community members will see when they submit their first idea… We have a sort of carnival barker built into the platform…to get more ideas – a second and a third – something like ”Great shot kid, now once more, with feeling…”

We’re going to try to keep it lively.

KISS up first?

Yep.  Couldn’t be a better kick-off for us. “Deuce” will be for Left Field what “Enter Sandman” was for Mariano Rivera…

There are a few others debuting as well.  I’m personally excited to see what folks will do on the baseball collector card challenge. “How do we get kids excited about collecting cards again?”  Hopefully the ideas will incite another baseball-card speculation bubble like when I was a kid — and I can finally get the massive returns I promised my parent’s from my “portfolio”.

This is going to be great for Tongal ideators.

I think it’s great for everyone, but it gives Ideators access to lots of new challenges and their own domain and place to shine.

I think we’re going to get some ideas in Left Field that have a big impact on businesses.  When we do, we’ll be rolling forward with that success to drive more, bigger Left Field projects.  When brands know they can get game-changing ideas from our community, my guess is that the value of ideas – and of Left Field itself — will just keep rising.

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