Ads Worth Spreading



Advertising surrounds us. It is on billboards, radio, television, buses, buildings, clothing, video, movies, Internet, and more. No matter how much we might want to get away from advertising, we cannot. But maybe, just maybe, sometimes there are advertisements worth viewing and spreading. Maybe there are ads that expand how we think and believe. Maybe there are ads with valuable messages. What are these ads, and who puts them together?

Thus began TED’s “Ads Worth Spreading” initiative designed to spark conversations about creating not only effective advertising, but also great content. The goal of the initiative is to promote the types of advertising and videos that people actually want to find and view. TED put together six teams with the goal of seeking out compelling ads. Each team examined ads according to key themes. The teams found that ads must be driven by ideas, and they must be integrated into social media marketing; today’s ads are posted on YouTube, tweeted, shared on Facebook, and live far beyond the initial 30 second viewing.

View the winning ads and judge if you think the winning messages are compelling.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the purpose of advertising as part of marketing campaigns.
  2. What makes ads memorable? What are the goals of advertisements? Should goals always be profit-oriented?
  3. Download the full report from TED:
  4. Show the videos:
  5. Divide students into groups. Have each group analyze one of the winning advertisements with respect to the following: target market, message, value, why the ad is worth spreading.
  6. Have each group report on their findings.
  7. Assign each group another product (not part of the winning group) and have them find an ad for the product online. What could be done to take an existing ad and turn it into a winner?


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