One of my favorite soapboxes of late pertains to video advertising, and what I perceive to be its inevitable merge with regular old videos created for "entertainment." Advertisers are embracing viral video in new and exciting ways every day, and I think we should applaud that. When you dig to the bottom of things, all the viewer wants is to have a good time... to be entertained. The viral audience has simply stopped caring whether their favorite funny video was created by a Fortune 500 company or a film school student.
I think it's an exciting time, and I could easily go on for hours about where I think video advertising might be headed in the coming years. And I was pleased to read in a guest post on the YouTube blog that TED founder Chris Anderson feels the same way:
"Our mission -- of spreading ideas around the world -- is supported in part by advertising. And we believe that advertising should evoke the same emotions a TEDTalk does -- it should make you think, make you respond, make you want to share -- a great idea, a product that makes the world better, an initiative that might change the world. Like YouTube, we want to see the same level of passion in online ads as we do in our TEDTalks. So, we've created a challenge called 'Ads Worth Spreading' to solicit the best ads that raise the bar, elevate the craft and invent new forms of online engagement."
Ads Worth Spreading (a nice play on TED's standard tagline, "Ideas Worth Spreading") is a new contest that will run until February 7, 2011, and is open to... well... everyone. From the page:
"Ads Worth Spreading is open to all organizations and individuals involved in designing, building, managing, maintaining, marketing or promoting online content for business, consumer or general audiences. Entries need not be from traditional ad agencies."
The goal is to encourage the development of online video ads that rise above... that are so likable that viewers cannot help but share them with friends. Anderson says he's looking for the same level of "ingenuity, intrique, and intelligence" that they are used to in their TedTalks.
There will be a panel of judges from a variety of disciplines who will choose up to 10 winning ads, and the winners will receive some from both TED and from YouTube (placement on the home page is one of the many perks of winning this contest).
Here's a video of Chris Anderson giving a talk about online video advertising (it's long, but it's awesome):
I believe that a lot of advertisers are already overhauling their idea of video ads on the web, but there are still far too many stragglers. The Ads Worth Spreading contest seems like Anderson's attempt to help wake those stragglers up and nudge them into this new world of ads that are engaging, stimulating, interesting, and shareable.
For a complete list of rules and instructions on how to enter, check out.
If any readers end up submitting an ad to the contest, please let us know so we can check it out!