TED is on the hunt again for 10 ads that are worth spreading. But for the first time in the project’s history, TED is providing an inside look at what it takes to make the coveted list.
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And advertisers should listen up. Making TED’s list is not only prestigious, but TED fans take instructions literally and spread the ads like crazy. For example, Rethink Breast Cancer’s “Your Man Reminder” spot had attractive, shirtless men instruct women about how to give themselves breast exams. The spot was exposed to a massive audience the day it made TED’s list and the YouTube numbers exploded.
Rather than an open-entry system, TED will use six nomination teams of two — “one renowned TED speaker paired with one rising star from the advertising industry” —and 25 industry leader “advocates” to find the best ads out there.
The nomination team will look for ads in six categories: talk, social good, cultural compass, creative wonder, brand bravery, and education. And the ads don’t have to be short! According to TED, “We found that to convey a message, ads need to run longer than the 15- or 30-second spot.”
TED also teamed up with Ace Metrix, which polls 500 viewers a day on what they like and don’t like about new ad campaigns, to gauge how consumers responded to last year’s ads worth spreading: Which demographics responded best? Which ads did people want to share? And, perhaps more importantly for brands, which ads changed viewers perception of the advertiser for the better?
TED created a report using last year’s inspiring ads worth spreading as a guide for what will make this year’s list.
1. Creative Wonder: The simplest and hardest qualification is creativity. That can be with music ...
Example: 'Xylophone' for NTT Docomo by Drill Inc.
To promote NTT Docomo's wooden cell phone, Japanese agency Drill Inc. built a 144 foot xylophone in the middle of the forest. As a wooden ball descended down the 413 wooden bars, the xylophone perfectly plays Bach's Cantata 147, accompanied by the sound of chirping birds. The ad took 49 takes.
According to Ace Metrix, the spot was most popular among women 50 and up, and almost three fourths of viewers wanted to share the ad with their friends.
Example: 'The Bear' for Canal+ by BETC
A perfect meld of inspiring and hilarious tones, this spot follows the story of a bearskin rug who decides to get off the floor in front of the TV and into the director's chair.
According to Ace Metrix, this ad performed best with young males aged 21 to 35. Although it didn't rate as highly for shareability as other spots.
Example: 'The Return of Ben Ali' for Engagement Citoyen by Memac Ogilvy Tunisia
In a radical, unconventional campaign to encourage people to vote, Memac Ogilvy put a sign of former Tunisian dictator Ben Ali -- deposed in 2011 -- in a main city square. Shocked, a crowd gathered and then tore down the sign of the dictator. Under the original poster was a message that read: 'Beware, dictatorship can return. On Oct 23, VOTE.'
According to Ace Metrix, the spot even resonated with an American audience, particularly women ages 21-35. It scored highly on viewer attention.
Example: 'Back to the Start' for Chipotle by CAA
TED hailed Chipotle's two-minute stop-motion animation of a farmer holding onto his values and converting his farm from a factory to natural approach as its bravest ad to spread. The Willie Nelson soundtrack doesn't hurt the spot's sharability either.
According to nominators,'This stop-motion film... has to be one of the most creatively compelling works produced by a brand. The clear message about sustainable farming is presented in an incredibly engaging and emotional manner.'
Example: 'Your Man Reminder' for Rethink Breast Cancer by John St.
Working under the assumption that women are more likely to watch a video featuring a hot guy, the ad gets dudes with six packs to illustrate the right way to do breast (or peck) exams. Sometimes in the shower.
The ad also tied in with the company's app in which sexy men remind users to give themselves breast exams.
Unsurprisingly, this ad did the best with women 21 to 50 plus. In fact, 70 per cent of them said that they'd share it.
Example: 'Aimee Mullins' for L'Oreal Paris by R/GA NY
This 2012 spot explains why L'Oreal chose Aimee Mullins as its spokesperson. She's a model, an athlete, and a double amputee with two prosthetic legs. The end of the spot says that the ad will be continued on L'Oreal's Facebook page, to which fans posted 'More please.' It's crucial to extend the message into other mediums.
Although the ad scored very well with men and women -- striking 86 per cent of viewers as authentic -- 14 per cent thought the three minute ad was 'long' and six per cent thought it was 'boring.'
Example: 'The Kinect Effect' for Microsoft Xbox by twofifteenmccann
The reports says that 'in this challenge, judges gravitated toward spots that reflected a brand's commitment to a cause or idea. There was a seriousness that pervaded the messaging. This stood in stark contrast to the stunt marketing, such as flash mobs, that prevailed for a moment in advertising but are now deployed less often.'
People do a lot more with Xbox Kinect technology than playing video games. According to TED, 'When people took the Xbox Kinect technology and ran with it, dreaming up new things Microsoft hadn't even imagined, they didn't shut them down -- they celebrated them.' Check out the cool things people have done with the technology:
Example: 'Day One: Linda' for Prudential by Droga5 NY
This is one chapter of Prudential's series that follows Americans through their first day of retirement. TED celebrates the ad for resisting commercial stereotypes of filming retirees on yachts or sandy beaches and rather goes for real, human stories of loss and survival.
Linda's spot did best with men and women over 50 -- particularly women. Even though seven per cent of viewers thought it was sad, they still gave the ad a high ranking.
If the idea is good enough and the personal story compelling enough, people will watch an ad even if it's long.
Example: 'Start with Sharpie' for Sharpie by DraftFCB Chicago
This spot follows artist Cheeming Boey's journey from bad student in Malaysia to acclaimed artist known for his innovative illustrations on styrofoam coffee cups.
According to Ace Metrix, this spot did best with men and women ages 36 to 49. Even though the word 'Sharpie' is only mentioned twice in the ad, viewers strongly associated the spot with the brand. The Sharpie spot also scored highest out of all the TED spots for sharability.
Example: 'Defy Convention' for Mazda by Team Cosmos/JWT Germany/Team Mazda Europe
Like Prudential and Sharpie's spots, Mazda's 'Defy Convention' also follows one character, a Japanese employee that works at Mazda in Hiroshima. He talks about how the city rose from the ashes of WW2's nuclear attack.
Even though the ad was four minutes long, it was still incredibly effective. An overwhelming 94 per cent of viewers thought that the spot was authentic, and 72 per cent thought that it changed their perception of the brand positively.
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