Born of Fire - Chrysler Super Bowl 2011 Ad (Play Button)

Raising the Bar

I’ve groused before about my disdain for advertising being forced in my face: pop up ads on the internet, being forced to watch an ad before or during a video (YouTube, CNN online, and many others), unsolicited junk mail in my inbox and my mailbox, fliers left on my car or on the house door, billboards littering the streets, in my TiVo menu system, while waiting on hold on the phone, on the fold down tray for my airplane seat, and on and on…

It’s not that I hate advertising per se. I really don’t. At times I even seek it out. I just hate marketing drivel, and I hate it being forced on me when I want to spend my time in other ways.

So the creative minds at TED, which, by the way, has the tagline “Ideas Worth Spreading,” have tackled this problem with a TED Initiative: Ads Worth Spreading.

As usual, brilliant!

You can check out the winners and runners up at this link.  I’m including this one advertisement below, one of the winners, because it spoke to me. I’ve made no secret of how I have felt since childhood about the American automobile industry, but this ad, by the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency Portland, Oregon, cleverly tackles that perception.  It binds the people of Detroit and the car industry as one:  massive, gritty, hard working, building itself up through sheer determination to do it—deeply American.

I’ve also seen some very compelling indie documentaries about the revitalization of Detroit:  starting businesses in enormous long abandoned warehouses for pennies on the dollar, people farming empty lots (where homes no longer exist) in neighborhoods and selling the food at local markets, new transitional trendy neighborhoods being created as young people are flocking to the city.  I actually hope these people can pull it off.

From the TED Ads Worth Spreading site:

In this spot, a classic American car-maker repositions the luxury automobile — and, at the same time, re-brands a troubled city. Our judging panel loved the powerful, authentic tone of this love letter to the city of Detroit.”