Ads Worth Spreading

Ads Worth Spreading is TED’s initiative to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising -- to highlight the ads that people want to see and share with their friends. An ad worth spreading is a short way of communicating an idea. What makes these ideas powerful is that they have a life of their own; an idea can reset someone’s worldview and even begin a domino effect as they pass it on to friends.

Ads honored through Ads Worth Spreading can be as long as it takes to communicate the idea powerfully, up to five minutes, whether that’s through state-of-the-art animation, lush imagery or an individual talking directly to the camera. What matters is the “a-ha” moment -- the central idea. The thing that makes consumers connect to the idea in the same way that TED speakers connect with their audience.

How it works

Ads Worth Spreading began as a clarion call to the global advertising community in 2011, asking for ads that inspired and engaged audiences. TED received nearly 1,000 entries and picked 10 outstanding examples.

In 2013, six nomination teams of two – made up of one renowned TED speaker and one rising star from the advertising industry – nominated compelling ads from diverse areas of interest: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery and Education. In addition, TED’s twenty-five Advocates from the advertising industry made valuable suggestions and nominations, refining the process and doing away with the open entry system. We discovered 10 pieces of incredibly compelling work from around the world.

The Report

Over the last two years, the search for compelling campaigns with strong ideas provided the opportunity to think about advertising differently. After gathering perspectives from the creative thinkers behind the final selections, our Nomination Teams and Advocates, TED partnered with Group SJR and Ace Metrix to pen a report around these insights. We encourage you to download the Ads Worth Spreading report, and hope you find it as interesting as we did.

Why it's different

This is not an award show. The ads chosen are reference points meant to reflect the best of advertising today and help others lift their game by rising to an industry-wide challenge.

This is a dialogue on ideas that brands should want to be a part of. It’s a collection of fascinating thought -- the final selections should inspire new ideas. TED wants to lend support to those who are reinventing marketing, sharing our platform with the experts moving this revolution forward.