TED seeks Ads Worth Spreading

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TED is looking to the creative community to submit its best online work to the Ads Worth Spreading challenge, a venture the TED organization says is designed to help raise the standards for online creativity.

TED head Chris Anderson first announced the venture during Advertising Week this year; now the organization is re-issuing the challenge with a clearer set of guidelines and to make a final push as the industry is in year's best mode.

TED is soliciting entries for online campaigns that were created between January 2010 and January 2011. The focus is on video-based creative between 30 seconds and five minutes, though the organization will also accept non-video entries "that introduce new online creative solutions." A panel of judges will select the ten best ads, which will be screened as interstitials at the live TED event, February 28 to March 4, and which will appear, free, for a week in March on Ted.com. Through a partnership with YouTube, winning work will also be seen on YouTube's home page and across the site. Deadline for entries is February 7.

TED has amassed a huge online audience with its Ideas Worth Spreading site, a video showcase of its famous Ted talks, and now, according to Ronda Carnegie, TED Global Partnership Director, wants to translate the quality and shareability of TED talks to web advertising, and foster a more positive user experience online.

"We're not advertising experts but we know that the relationship between the consumer and online advertising needs to change," says Carnegie. She says that much online advertising has made people feel "slightly ambushed," and that this challenge was created as "a celebration of great creative," adding that the venture is "not another awards opportunity."

"Because Ted is so open we think we can put this challenge out there and not have it be about our own self promotion, but about teaming up with people who are interested in the same thing," says Carnegie.

Organizers are seeking entries in four categories: social good, "infectiously compelling," or viral, "industry impact," which is an innovation category, and "talk," which Carnegie describes as a format that mirrors the Ted Talks. "What happens when a single individual from a company stands up and shares what they're passionate about," says Carnegie. "We'd like to see.. people in organizations talk about ideas."

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