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Ads Worth Spreading turns 3 and releases a report

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At the AICP Conference in New York this morning, TED announced the third cycle of Ads Worth Spreading, our initiative to find the 10 most compelling ad campaigns of the year. We also released a report to share insights from the creatives behind the winning ads and the nomination teams that picked them. The paper reveals how both creators and consumers think about ads.

Ads Worth Spreading finds examples of what advertising can be — how companies, corporations and organizations can successfully create informative, stimulating and enriching content for audiences. Imagine if advertising was not something to “sit through”; but instead, inspiring media that could spark change, raise awareness and communicate new thinking. Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” campaign spoke to people because it advocated a compelling idea – a return to a sustainable, ethical way to produce food and support for struggling small farmers.

In searching for the ads we wanted to watch, we learned that ads must be driven by ideas. It is no longer enough to repeat the pour shots, bites and smiles that have defined a large portion of advertising to this point. Brands must create wonder and find their place in larger cultural conversations.We also found that to convey a message, ads need to run longer than the 15- or 30-second spot.

It’s also important to understand how ads live in social media — videos are posted on YouTube, then tweeted and shared on Facebook. The post-production conversation is an essential part of the discussion between brands and consumers. And if there’s going to be a conversation, brands should have something to say.

For this year’s challenge, TED will tap thought leaders in advertising, the arts, business and more, to find compelling ad work from around the globe. Unlike last year’s open entry system, we will rely solely on the work of our nomination teams and advocates. We’ve found that with a global team of people from different backgrounds working together, the best ads and most interesting discoveries are made.

Six curated teams of two – made up of one renowned TED speaker paired with one rising star from the advertising industry – will seek out and nominate compelling ads and branded content in the categories of: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery and Education. In addition, TED’s 25 Advocates – industry leaders in advertising, production, curation and film – will also make suggestions and nominations.

YouTube is TED’s principal supporter on Ads Worth Spreading, lending their voice and reach to the initiative. Other supporters include: AICP, 4A’s, IAB, IAA, and Art Directors Club.

TED will curate the final selection of 2012’s ten most fascinating ads to be announced from the TED2013 conference in Long Beach, Calif. in February, and showcased on and YouTube.

Download the full Ads Worth Spreading report here >>