Ads Worth Spreading 2013

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It is one of my favorite initiatives.

TED has been working hard to acknowledge TV ads that are "ideas worth spreading." When I hear people say that they hate advertising, I don’t believe them. People hate BAD advertising and, unfortunately, a good bulk of the work that comes out of the advertising industry is mediocre at best, and bad a lot more often than it should be. People love ads that tell a story. People love ads that make them laugh, think, cry, grow and more. Volumes have been written about what it takes to produce a great spot. Volumes have also been written about the abysmal failure and poor reception that TV ads get. Still, when it works… it just works. At this past year’s TED conference, ten choice spots were chosen. They are worthy of your time and attention. And, if they do the job they are supposed to do, who knows you may just become a customer… a loyal one.

TED 2013’s Ads Worth Spreading:

The unifying theme:

In a word: courage. It takes courage to makes TV ads like this. It’s not just the agency and their creative team, either. It’s the brand, the media company and everyone else. It takes courage to do what other don’t expect. It takes courage to create something that may feel vague or uncertain in the experience brief. Yes, it takes great creative to execute these ideas, but before the execution of an ad, comes the courage to do something remarkable.

What ads have inspired you in the past little while?


  1. Thanks for the article Mitch. I enjoy reading your stuff.
    With respect, it doesn’t matter what ads “inspire us”.
    All that matters is what ads have generated revenue for the client. We love critiquing ad campaigns and handing out awards for ‘creative’, ‘courageous’, and ‘remarkable’ when in fact none of those things matter.
    Our clients can’t pay for future ad buys with awards.
    They need revenue.
    We spend too much time patting each other on the back for innovation and creativity when as Benton and Bowles said: “if it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”.
    TED talks like this serve to cloud the issue in my opinion, which of course is great for agencies but potentially deadly for the brands involved.

  2. Ideas matter.
    Whatever the media.
    Whatever the mistakes in the way they are communicated.
    We need to build up the courage it takes to spread the message.
    Thanks Mitch.

  3. Benton & Bowles. What happened to that agency? Yes that’s right, they no longer exist. A coupe of decades of lazy, mediocre work that hides behind some equally lazy mantra that ‘creative’ work is a folly, will do that.

  4. I wish I believed that courage was behind these messages. The Coke ad irritates beyond comprehension. So we see that people are often good, selfless, caring, considerate, loving and, yes, courageous. But what about Coke? There is nothing here to indicate that Coke subscribes to any of these virtues. In fact it would appear that Coke, in turning its cameras on human beings, keeps us from turning the camera on Coke. Global corporations are so influential that governments and politicians dance to whatever happy melody the company pays to have composed. It’s time corporations showed some courage themselves. Became transparent, opened the books so to speak, all in effort to demonstrate that they have nothing to hide. What Coke has produced is another demonstration of sophisticated corporate propaganda.

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