Quick – think about the last great advertisement you have seen. Maybe it was on the side of a bus, the radio, television, or the Internet. Now, consider the essential elements that make an advertisement great. It might be harder than you think to come up with a formula for greatness. Recently, the researchers at Nielsen examined their TV Brand Effect database of more than 250,000 TV ads in an effort to understand what truly makes an ad or brand memorable.
Storytelling: Great ads tell us a good story.
Simplicity: A well-told, simple story is one we can easily remember.
Relatable situations: Ads that show us characters who act or look like us are more effective.
Humor: Humor lifts peoples’ spirits and contributes to memorable ads.
Branding: Great ads convey a strong, consistent brand.
Go back to the ad you thought was great and see if it meets these criteria.
We tend to think the only purpose of advertising is to sell products. And for the most part, that is true. However, profit is not the only reason to create innovative ads; advertising can also be created to help highlight issues and address societal change.
TED’s third “Ads Worth Spreading” challenge was designed to celebrate ads that communicate ideas in an exceptionally powerful way. “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.
Ads were nominated by six teams of two – made up of one renowned TED speaker and one rising star from the advertising industry – and 25 TED advocates from the ad industry. The members searched worldwide for compelling ads from diverse areas of interest: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery and Education.
Watch the 10 winning videos and be prepared to rethink the use of advertising to help the world become a better place.
(PS – This blog has featured several of the winning ads in previous months.)
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Bring up the ads: http://www.ted.com/watch/ads-worth-spreading . Show one of the videos.
2. The full report can be downloaded from the site.
3. Divide students into teams and have each team select a different ad to analyze.
4. Each team should prepare a quick briefing describing the key elements that make the ad worth spreading.
5. Discuss how these elements could be applied to other products and companies.
Nearly every college student and professor is familiar with TED Talks and its famous videos and speakers who cover topics ranging including global business, happiness, medicine, technology, joy, workers, innovation, science, biology, psychology, and much more. After all, TED is “dedicated to ideas worth spreading.”
But have you ever wondered which ideas have been spread the most widely from six years of TED Talks online videos? Which videos spark our interest the most?
Pranav Mistry – the thrilling potential of Sixth Sense.
David Gallo – underwater astonishments.
Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry – demonstrate Sixth Sense.
Tony Robbins – why we do what we do.
Simon Sinek – how great leaders inspire action.
Brene Brown – the power of vulnerability.
Steve Jobs – how to live before you die.
Daniel Pink – the surprising science of motivation.
Hans Rosling – the best stats you’ve ever seen.
Elizabeth Gilbert – nurturing your creative genius.
Arthur Benjamin – does mathemagic.
Mary Roach – 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm.
Dan Gilbert – why are we happy.
Keith Barry – does brain magic.
Stephen Hawking – big questions about the universe.
Johnny Lee – Wii remote hacks for educators.
Jeff Han – demonstrates his breakthrough multi-touchscreen.
Barry Schwartz – explores the paradox of choice.
What TED Talks videos top your list?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
Bring up www.TED.com and show a video that appeals to you. Prepare a handout to guide students in the video; include several questions that they can answer in group discussion.
College students love TED Talks. Professors are sometimes surprised at the variety of subjects students seek out on TED. For this activity, divide students into teams and have each team select a topic to search on TED.
Have each team select a video to show the class.
Each team should prepare a sheet with at least five questions. The answers to the question are in the video. As students watch the video, they analyze and prepare answers to the questions for class discussion.
Do this exercise for several weeks, perhaps over the length of the semester. Each week, a new team can present their video.