TED Conversations

Thomas Stat

SVP Innovation, Maddock Douglas, Chicago Ideas Week, Advisory Board

TEDCRED 200+

This conversation is closed.

What if we redefined the TED gift bag?

A few early thoughts:

respects the value to TED (sponsors)
respects the value to attendees (who, let's face it, like free stuff...and meaningful stuff)
addresses the value to social impact causes
empowers greater community
reframes what "SWAG" means
affirms what TED means

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  • Mar 5 2013: WHY NOT GIVE THEM SOME KIND OF WORK ORDERS. THING TO DO LIKE MAKE A PAIR OF MITTENS, AND GIVE THEM THE MATERIALS TO DO IT .YARN AND NEEDLES . A NATURAL, HOMEGROWN SKILL. BAG SEEDS, TREES FROM A LOCAL GROWER. ECT. JUST AN IDEA WORTH...
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    Mar 4 2013: I'm purposefully defining this challenge WITH constraints and conditions. Yes, TED could abandon the bag, but I'm interested in helping TED redefine the bag. Yes, TED could NOT give out anything or make it purely about charity, but I'm interested in opportunities where there's value all around.
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    Mar 3 2013: TEDs sponsors and patrons make what they do possible with great integrity and transparency. There's absolutely no reason to feel badly about gift bags. They are an opportunity and a benefit. As a designer, I want to reframe and rethink the "institution" not criticize or invalidate it.
  • Mar 3 2013: Why must gifts come in a bag?
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    Mar 2 2013: I think there's a bigger opportunity...that's what I'm searching for anyway.
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    Mar 2 2013: Yes, there's always the possibility of passing things on to others....but I'm looking for the bigger opportunities (new ways of thinking about the "giftbag") at the intersection of:

    the enormous influencing capacity of the attendees
    the need for sponsors (aka gift bag content contributors) for exposure
    social impact
    value to attendees
  • Comment deleted

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      Mar 2 2013: I wonder what other attendees actually think about the gift bags. Thomas, have you discussed this with any other attendees?

      As an extremely popular teacher with both students and parents (warmth and rigor is a winning combination!), I always received lots of holiday gifts (not of the kind in TED gift bags!). These were very thoughtful tokens of appreciation, but a teacher typically does not need all the goodies and trinkets with which she is showered.

      Knowing this, when my son was in middle school and the holidays came around, I wrote a letter to the teachers expressing our gratitude and telling them that in their honor I had made a donation of such and so many polio vaccines... The thank you notes I got back said that that was the best gift they had ever received.

      I was not thinking in my response to Thomas' question of the desire of the sponsors to advertise via the gift bags.
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    Mar 2 2013: While attendees might like free stuff, it would seem more consistent with TED that gifts in their honor go instead to people who need things.
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    Mar 2 2013: It's been typical conference SWAG (stuff we all get), filled with gift cards, gadgets, etc.In the past, we've gotten iPhones, Google phones, bluetooth devices, note books, water bottles, t-shirts, etc. More recently, some of the big "sponsors" have been Icebreaker, WorldWildlife Fund, Jawbone, etc. Central to the whole thing is the gift bag (in the past messenger style or more recently duffles and this year a back pack that NO ONE likes). I have a closet filled with these and use only one of about 10 I've received.

    The quality and value seems to drop every year and the marketing increases. There has been an increase in social impact "gifts" (pay it forward kind of things)
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      Mar 3 2013: OK as someone who is never going to be able to afford to attend a conference, I have a quick question.

      I thought the attendance fee was so high so TED could avoid the influence of corporate sponsorship. So how the heck do they justify this?

      That just makes me angry. I now have to rethink my participation in this venue. I hate when I am made to feel stupid. Add foul language here....
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    Mar 2 2013: What is the TED gift bag? What has been in it traditionally?