Online ads can be annoying—either too loud, boring, or completely off base for the target audience. But once in a while, an Internet ad comes across as more a work of art than a waste of browsing time.
TED, the popular global conference with the tagline “ideas worth spreading,” has partnered up with YouTube for the second year in a row to celebrate the better sort of ads.
It’s just another way that YouTube’s owners at Google, who have long courted the advertising community, is seeking to class up the joint with high-quality, professionally created content.
Dubbed “Ads Worth Spreading,” YouTubers can now submit their own suggestions for the 10 best ads, as well as vote for their favorites through a YouTube channel of the same name. Willing participants have until December 31.
TED explained the initiative on its site as “seeking to reverse the trend of online ads being aggressively forced on users.”
It’s a grandiose statement, but perhaps the goal isn’t that unrealistic. After all, people already watch the Super Bowl on television with an eye to the ads.
So far, there are fifteen ads on the channel up for consideration. These include an animated ad for Unicef about climate change, and The Inside Experience, a 50-minute-long social film experiment backed by Intel and Toshiba.
While some of the ads tug unoriginally on predictable heartstrings, most are highly creative—and rewatchable, possibly even shareable.
Eric Meyerson, the video-business marketing lead at YouTube, said the company had “tremendous esteem for TED” in an email to the Daily Dot, calling it “a recognition of how inspiring storytelling can carry brilliant ideas to a global audience.”
While that may be true, it’s one more encroachment by professional video creators on a site that has long been the turf of amateur storytellers. For a site that’s long instructed its users to upload videos and “broadcast yourself,” does this leave its audience relegated merely to voting on the work of their betters?