Schooled in both visual communications and engineering, Ben Thoma is a visual problem solver. Before advertising, he experienced working as a home repair supervisor, a collegiate mascot, a grassroots political organizer, and a Mac Genius. As an advertising creative, Ben had developed marketing, direct mail, and promotional campaigns before finding a natural fit within interactive advertising. His clients have been as varied as his experience, including: AXE, Frank's RedHot Sauce, Dos Equis, U.S. Air Force, John Deere and Volvo. He's also designed a cover for TIME magazine's TIME 100 issue, attended OFFF & SXSW, and taught at Pratt Institute. He now resides in Austin, TX with his wife, son and dog where he leads a small team organizing the local chapter of CreativeMornings.
Areas of Expertise
Advertising, Interactive Advertising, Mascoting, Branding, Craft Beer
An idea worth spreading
We need to change the language we use when talking about ideas. -- "I have an idea." -- "My idea isâ€¦" -- We are trained to use language that indicates ownership of ideas, but no one owns ideas. We can create executions & solutions & ways to communicate ideas, but we cannot own them. This type of possessive language increases divisiveness, implies ownership, and prevents cooperation. We find ideasâ€¦ we seek them outâ€¦ we use them as the basis for creation, but we cannot own them. So, I urge us to try a slightly different use of language that represents a much more accurate depiction of ideas. "I found an idea." -- "I'm looking for an idea." -- "My execution is based on this idea." My hope is that this approach will increase a better understanding of the difference between ideas and the countless executions that they inspire. It's a small, significant step towards encouraging more people to feel that they too have the ability to access ideas.
I'm passionate about
advertising, creativity, teaching, the web, social justice, academia, letterpress, (American) football
Talk to me about
interactive advertising, general advertising, college mascots, Appalachia, Apple, craft beer
My TED story
My first TED conference experience took place at Palm Springs in 2009. One of my favorite personal moments took place when Evan Williams, founder of twitter, gave a short talk in Long Beach. I had been writing a short, summary tweets for all the talks, and so when Chris Anderson surprised Evan by doing a live search for 'Evan Williams' after his talk what was the first tweet to show up? My comments on his talkâ€”my own 15 characters of fame! You can follow me too @StrictlyCircus