From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Genre Crowdsourcing
Founded 2009
Founder James DeJulio, Rob Salvatore, Mark Burrell
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, United States
Area served
Products Film and other production projects
Number of employees
50+ (2014)[1]

Tongal is a crowdsourced studio. Founded in 2009 in Santa Monica,[2] the company maintains an online platform that connects businesses in need of creative work with an online community of writers, directors, and production companies.[3] Tongal's original methodology for completing projects allows anyone to contribute at any of the steps along the way — from ideation through the production of content.[3] Tongal's creative community creates TV commercials, original content, digital advertising, and instructional videos.[4] Beyond projects for organizations such as Sundance, Tongal's other clients have included LEGO, Mattel, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and NASA.[5]


Founding and business model (2007-2009)[edit]

Tongal was founded by James DeJulio, Rob Salvatore, and Mark Burrell, who first began developing the business model after a conversation in June 2007.[1] The company was incorporated under a different name on May 12, 2008 in Delaware, and the first iteration of Tongal's platform was built using TopCoder via crowdsourcing.[1] Initially based "in a New York hotel room,"[3] Tongal went live and launched its first video project, related to, on May 20, 2009.[1] Tongal hired its first employee in October 2009, and two months later the community had 1,000 members.[1]

As a crowdsourcing company for creative work, Tongal states that its mission is to "bring the world's creative work to the world's creative talent."[3] The founders selected the name Tongal as an anagram of "Galton," referring to the social scientist Sir Francis Galton. He had been highlighted in James Surowiecki's novel The Wisdom of Crowds, which posits that a diverse collection of people is likely to make certain decisions and predictions better than individuals or even experts.[6] The opening anecdote relates Galton's surprise when a crowd at market tried to guess the weight of an ox, and their averaged guesses proved accurate. The story would inspire Tongal's ox logo.[3]

Early growth (2010-2013)[edit]

The "pitch phase" of Tongal debuted on March 16, 2010, and marked the first "tournament style" project for the company.[1] In September 2010, the company was named to the PepsiCo10[7] for being one of "the 10 most innovative start ups in social media."[1] Among other projects, in August 2011 the Tongal video "Stuck on Duck Video Project" by David Brashear went viral, and for a time was the tenth most viewed video on Vimeo.[1]

In early 2012, the company launched its 100th project[1] and shortly after, in February 2012 Tongal began a long-term partnership with LEGO.[1] The following month Tongal began working with Pringles and P&G,[1] and in April 2012 Tongal relocated to Marina del Rey in Santa Monica, California.[1] In December 2012, Tongal raised funds from Insight Venture Partners.[1]

Tongal notably aired a Speed Stick commercial on February 3, 2013 during the Super Bowl. Titled "Unattended Laundry" and a part of Speed Stick's "Handle It Campaign," it was listed at No. 12 on a ranking of the top 2013 Super Bowl ads by The Kellogg School of Management.[1] On May 4, 2013, Tongal opened a new headquarters in Santa Monica.[1] In October 2013, a Tongal office was opened in the United Kingdom.[1] A New York City office opened in January 2014.[1]

Recent developments (2014-2015)[edit]

Tongal was listed 205th in the Inc 500 for 2014, which lists the fastest growing companies in the United States.[8] It also won a Gold Medal at the 2014 Edison Awards for Collaboration and Knowledge Management.[9] As of 2014, Tongal handled approximately 200 projects annually.[10] From 2010 to 2015, Tongal's revenue had doubled five times.[11]

Tongal first held the Tongies, an awards ceremony for Tongal community members, in April 2014.[1] As of 2015, Tongal has a global community of more than 70,000 writers, directors and filmmakers in 140+ countries.[12] In 2015, it had seven films in the Sundance Film Festival, and 41 of its 70,000 workers earned salaries of over six figures.[13]

Platform and process[edit]

Tongal projects are open to anyone with a good idea and any filmmakers with the experience to execute it.[3] Typically, each project is posted onto the website and broken up into three phases — "idea," "pitch" and "video," with all stages allowing contribution from anyone.[14]

  • Idea Phase: In this phase, a business or entity posts a project to Tongal, with a total amount of prize money to be awarded over several phrases.[3] The community then generates ideas with short descriptions, leaving often thousand of ideas for the business to choose from. Finalists typically win a portion of the money, even if their idea is not the final selection.[3] [15]
  • Pitch Phase: In the next phase,[1] which is intended for community members with a degree of technical skill, directors and production companies pitch production aspects of the winning ideas, for example storyboards and scripts. As of 2015, Tongal states it receives about 50 pitches per project.[3]
  • Video Phase: After the business selects the production winner and awards money, shooting begins on several projects, with work also put into soundtracks and other aspects of production. From those finished videos, the business selects the winners and distributes the rest of the prize money, with some often relegated for runner-up videos and third-place videos.[3]

Notable projects[edit]

Ads and commercial work[edit]

Tongal's clients have included large companies such as Facebook, Volvo Cars[16] LEGO,[5] Mattel, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and NASA, with videos often developed for particular brands and subsidiaries.[5]

External video
"Stuck On Duck Video Project" (August 2011)

An example of Tongal's crowdsourcing approach for ads can be seen with Duck Products' 2011 "Stuck On Duck Video Project",[17][18] which featured Jay Maynard aka Tron Guy.[1] The video, which advertises a brand of ducktape, was featured in Wired Magazine as a "genius idea," and doesn't use any special effects.[19]

An early example of Tongal's[1] work is a video under the demo section of Kiva's French website.[20] Tongal was used to source the video, which serves to "explain the process and clarify what we're doing and what our mission is."[21] In late 2012 Tongal did its first Spanish language project for Suavitel,[1] and also by that time the company had worked with Pepsi on short video pieces about Brisk Tea, with Tongal facilitating a contest for the best film pitches.[22]

Tongal has also done video for the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake franchises through American Greetings Properties.[23] Lucasfilm and Pringles also jointly commissioned Tongal for a commercial,[24] with a total of $75,000 in prize money distributed to seven finalists.[25] In 2012 a Tongal ad for Speed Stick was featured during the live broadcast of the Super Bowl.[25]

Music videos and popular music[edit]

Bands such as The Who and Umphrey's McGee have had music video contests through Tongal, as well as Bob Marley's estate for a 2014 fan-made video of "One Love/People Get Ready."[26]

External video
"One Love" by Bob Marley – Official Music Video (December 4, 2014)
"California Feelin'" by The Beach Boys – Official Music Video (December 9, 2014)

To promote the 2011 Beach Boys box set the The Smile Sessions, music video concepts for "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains" were submitted through Tongal, with the concepts then voted on and ultimately selected by other fans.[27][28] A similar project was undertaken in 2013 for the Beach Boys box set Made in California, with fans contributing via Tongal to the production of a music video [29] for the previously unreleased track "California Feelin'."[30] Tongal users were also given a chance to submit a lead guitar track for "Going to the Beach,"[31] with the winner's performance mixed into the song by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd.[32]

In April 2014, Gene Simmons launched a Tongal project to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kiss. The project was part of a new Tongal service titled Left Field, which utilizes social media and short project descriptions.[33]

Fiction film and documentaries[edit]

Tongal has also had several projects to create original content. Tongal teamed up with Sundance Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create "unique, compelling, and personal short films exploring an empowering person or an optimistic story about individuals and communities who are overcoming poverty and hunger, combating disease, or improving health."[34] The winners each received $10,000 and their films premiered at 2015 Sundance Film Festival.[citation needed]

Tongal has also partnered with Lionsgate, Women in Film (WIF), and the author of the Twilight books Stephenie Meyer to create short films set in the Twilight universe in 2014.[16] Other projects involved Spitfire Pictures.[35]

DirecTV announced it was partnering with Tongal on The Next Great American Documentary in 2015, a 60-minute film meant to air in 2015 on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel. The project started with a subject phase open to anyone 13 years or older in the United States, and has a $50,000 budget production budget.[36]

The Tongies[edit]

The Tongies
Awarded for 13 categories of production related to Tongal projects
Presented by Tongies Nominating Committee
First awarded 2014-present
Website Tongies
A Tongie award is not to be confused with Tongie, a Shetland sea spirit

The Tongies is an annual awards ceremony put on by Tongal since 2014.[10] The purpose of the Tongies is to recognize the Tongal community by awarding work done on Tongal during the previous calendar year.[10] Work is nominated by the Tongies Nominating Committee, with the nominated material then posted online for the community to vote on.[37] The various category winners are awarded a Tongie, a metal statuette fashioned as a head with a half-smile, half-frown and a lightning bolt on top.[10]

The first Tongies awards ceremony was held April 2, 2014[1] at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. Thirteen Tongies were awarded,[37] with categories such as Best Comedy, Best Broadcast Spot, Best Animation and Video of The Year.[38] KISS frontman Gene Simmons and The Pointer Sisters performed,[37] with Simmons awarding the Best Original Song category.[33] The second annual Tongies was held March 5, 2015 at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominee Category Result
2014 Edison Awards Tongal Collaboration & Knowledge Management[9] Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Tongal Timeline". Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ellingson, Annlee (March 27, 2015). "Q&A: Why big brands are crowdsourcing creative content on Tongal". L.A. Biz. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  4. ^ Dave, Paresh (January 27, 2015). "More big brands are tapping creative crowdsourcing sites". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  5. ^ a b c "Tapping The Creativity Of The Crowd With Tongal". 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  6. ^ Surowiecki, James (2004). The Wisdom of Crowds. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-50386-0. 
  7. ^ McMahan, Ty (September 13, 2010). "PepsiCo Unveils Winners Of New Start-Up Incubator Program". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  8. ^ "The 2014 Inc. 5000 - Meet the fastest-growing private companies in America". Inc. Magazine. 2014. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  9. ^ a b "2014 Edison Award Winners". Edison Awards. 2014. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  10. ^ a b c d Rapkin, Mickey (April 17, 2014). "Crowdsourcing Site Tongal Awards Its Winning Ad Pitches". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  11. ^ Courtner, Barry (April 21, 2015). "Home work: offers creatives like Lucas Ridley a new way to make a living (with video)". Times Free Press. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  12. ^ Canfield, David (March 17, 2015). "Attention, Filmmakers: Tongal and DirecTV Team Are Looking for 'The Next Great American Documentary'". Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  13. ^ Gerdeman, Dina (April 2, 2015). "Digital Initiative Summit: The Business of Crowdsourcing". Harvard Business School. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  14. ^ "How". Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  15. ^ King, Rachael (February 1, 2011). "Meet the Microworkers". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  16. ^ a b "Twilight will be revived via short films on Facebook". New York Times. October 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  17. ^ "$5,000 Ad Contest Yields The Ultimate 'Tron' Cameo". Advertising & Marketing. Adweek. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  18. ^ "Duck Tron Races On Vimeo, Quickly Gets 268K Views". ClickZ Marketing News & Expert Advice. Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  19. ^ Watercutter, Angela (August 22, 2011). "Video: Genius Idea for Tron-Themed Duck Tape Ad". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  20. ^ "Kiva En Francais". Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  21. ^ "Ten Minutes With James DeJulio, President and Co-Founder of Tongal". Huff Post Tech. The Huffington Post. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  22. ^ Ellet, John (September 25, 2012). "PepsiCo To Make New Investments In Digital Media Start-Ups". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  23. ^ Smiley, Minda (October 1, 2014). "Could Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake Be Next Video Stars?". Adage. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  24. ^ DeJulio, James (January 11, 2013). "Call for Star Wars Commercial By Fans, for Fans". Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  25. ^ a b Dishman, Lydia (2013). "See The Winners of Tongal's Star Wars-Pringles Campaign". Fast to Create. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  26. ^ Brown, Harley (December 4, 2014). "Ben & Jerry's and Tuff Gong Release First Video for 'One Love' and a Bob Marley-Inspired Ice Cream". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  27. ^ "Beach Boys Announce Track Listing For 'Smile Sessions'". Rolling Stone. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  28. ^ "The Beach Boys Crowdsource Videos For "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes & Villains"". Mashable, Inc. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  29. ^ "California Feelin' Beach Boys Music Video Project Awards". Tongal. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  30. ^ The Beach Boys - California Feelin' on YouTube
  31. ^ "Goin' to the Beach Guitar Solo Project Brief". Tongal. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  32. ^ "Beach Boys Producers Alan Boyd, Dennis Wolfe, Mark Linett Discuss ‘Made in California’ (Q&A)". Rock Cellar Magazine. September 4, 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  33. ^ a b Jarvey, Natalie (April 2, 2014). "Gene Simmons Celebrates Kiss' 40th Anniversary With Crowdsourcing Campaign (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  34. ^ "Sundance". Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  35. ^ Raughnder, Ryan (September 22, 2013). "Spitfire Pictures partners with Tongal to crowd-source documentary". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  36. ^ Spangler, Todd (March 17, 2015). "DirecTV Teams with Tongal to Crowdsource Documentary Film with $50,000 Budget (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  37. ^ a b c "Convoy to the Top at the First Annual Tongies". Brand Innovators. April 3, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  38. ^ L., Dan (April 8, 2014). "Tongal honors their best and brightest at the first annual Tongie awards". Video Contest News. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 

External links[edit]