Announcing Ads Worth Spreading, year 2

Posted by: Shanna Carpenter
  • Today, TED Curator Chris Anderson announced the second cycle of Ads Worth Spreading at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX conference in New York.

    This year’s Ads Worth Spreading is searching to find the 10 most compelling campaigns of 2011, driven by this belief: that the smartest, strongest ads don’t just sell a product or brand, but express an idea.

    TED’s mission is ideas worth spreading. The dream behind the Ads Worth Spreading initiative is to find companies that want to communicate ideas to their consumers in the same way that TED wants to communicate with its audience.

    Revealing the way a company thinks tells consumers what that company is and what it stands for. In last year’s contest, one of our final selections, Chrysler’s “Born of Fire” campaign, spoke to people because it communicated an incredible idea — steel is born of fire, and cities that go through hard times aren’t dead forever.

    “In our brave new interconnected world, the rules of marketing are changing fast,” says Anderson. “Ambush advertising is broken. We think there’s a better way, based on sharing powerful ideas. Most companies are teeming with amazing ideas that the rest of the world never gets to see. By letting some of those ideas out into the world in an authentic way, companies have a shot at transforming the way they are perceived. We’re looking forward to another fantastic round of entries from forward-thinking companies and people.”

    We’re combining curation and crowdsourcing to find the best ads from every corner of the globe. There are four ways for a campaign to make it to the final selection:

    • Agencies, brands, producers and individuals are invited to submit work that expresses a clever, compelling or infectious idea. TED will open submissions on October 15, 2011, and close on December 31, 2011.

    Six nomination teams of two — made up of one renowned TED speaker or Fello and one rising star from the advertising industry — will tap their networks to seek out and nominate compelling ads from specific areas of interest.

    • TED’s 24 Advocates from the advertising industry will make valuable suggestions and nominations.

    • YouTube’s Ad Blitz will help in sourcing all Super Bowl ads.

    YouTube will help promote and showcase the Ads Worth Spreading selections online, as well as celebrating all final selections at TED2012 with an artistic installation. Other Ads Worth Spreading industry supporters include Contagious Magazine, AICP, the 4As, IAB, IAA, the Art Directors’ Club, and NiceSpots.

    We hope you’ll also support us in this search for innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising — the ads that people want to see, and share with their friends.

    Comments (5)

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    • paisan rangpolsumrit commented on Oct 4 2011


    • robert sawyer commented on Oct 3 2011

      An ad that doesn’t sell isn’t an ad, it’s really that simple. It may be some other form of creative expression, and lovely and moving, but it’s not advertising. This notion, stated above, is very pervasive, and, largely, perpetrated by those who haven’t the courage to step out of their office or cubicle and commit themselves to an artist’s or a craftman’s life.

      The idea that ads don’t have to sell demonstrates a lack of understanding of the purpose of communications in general and advertising in particular. The fact that ideas can be commodified, can be “bought” is not news, although it generally falls under the category of propaganda.

      Ideas are bought when they persuade or are internalized—but this can only be proved when the ad compels its audience to open its wallet, or cast its vote, or show up at a rally.

      The strongest ads always sell a product and the belief that selling is secondary is the result of a business that judges advertising not on its effectiveness, but on whether it wins a prize at Cannes, or one of the many other award shows—shows that have largely degenerated into glorified job fairs.

      Toward this end, W&K Chrysler Ad “Born of Fire” work may be deeply admired by members of the Creative Fraternities, but what’s absent in W&K’s heart-felt description of the work, is an acknowledgment of the less poetic work that moves the cars out of the showrooms with such banal language and imagery as “0% down and 1% interest.”

      As for cause marketing and ads for NGO or other charities, this is an area where agencies can pull all stops, because in this arena work is valued more for how it makes its creatives, their clients and award show judges feel, than it’s actual effectiveness.

    • Maggie Roberts commented on Oct 3 2011

      I’d like to see the full ads. Are there links?

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