John St. a winner in TED competition

A Rethink Breast Cancer ad created by Toronto agency John St. has been named one of the 10 winners of the second annual TED Ads Worth Spreading competition. As the only Canadian ad to make the list, the Rethink Breast Cancer spot humorously brings attention to the importance of breast self-exams by featuring several shirtless […]

A Rethink Breast Cancer ad created by Toronto agency John St. has been named one of the 10 winners of the second annual TED Ads Worth Spreading competition.

As the only Canadian ad to make the list, the Rethink Breast Cancer spot humorously brings attention to the importance of breast self-exams by featuring several shirtless male models (referred to as “hot guys” in the video), one of whom playfully demonstrates how to do breast exam on himself. The ad promotes the “Your Man Reminder” – an app in which “a hot guy of your choice” gives women regular reminders to do their breast self-exams.

“We thought the Rethink Breast Cancer spot was a brilliantly funny approach to a serious issue,” said Ronda Carnegie, head of global partnerships for TED, a non-profit organization headquartered in New York and Vancouver that is dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.”

“What we also liked about it was that this was an interplay between a message and an opportunity to participate in an idea by downloading the mobile app and choosing your favourite man,” she said. “This campaign shows how you can connect to the two instead of thinking about them in their own isolated tracks.”

Rethink Breast Cancer is a Canadian charity aimed at raising awareness of breast cancer among the under-40 demographic. As its website describes, its goal is to “foster a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters; infuse sass and style into the cause; and, most importantly, respond to the unique needs of young (or youngish) women going through it.”

Winners of the TED Ads Worth Spreading challenge were announced on Tuesday – the opening day of the four-day annual TED conference in California. This year’s competition attracted entries from 39 countries. TED’s reason for holding the ad competition is to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising, and to seek out the best in online video storytelling.

“We sought out ads that were driven by ideas,” said TED curator Chris Anderson in a media release. “At TED, we’ve seen the power of imagination and innovation. We want to reward companies that have invested in longer-form, beautifully crafted campaigns that value human attention and intelligence, and take the time to tell a thought-provoking story.”

Stephen Jurisic, co-creative director at John St., was thrilled to be recognized, noting that there’s something special about being acknowledged by an organization that focuses on “big, important ideas” like TED does. “To be picked in the top 10 is an incredible honour,” said Jurisic. “If you look at all the winners, they’re quite varied in their tone…but one thing they have in common is that they’re all very thoughtful, and I think that’s part of the TED mandate.”

Here are the 10 TED winners:

“Your Man Reminder” for Rethink Breast Cancer from agency John St.

“The Bear” for Canal+ from agency BETC

“Back to the Start” for Chipotle from agency Creative Artists Agency Los Angeles

“The Return of Dictator Ben Ali” for Engagement Citoyen from agency Memac Ogilvy Tunisia

“Aimee Mullins” for L’Oreal Paris from agency R/GA New York

“Defy Convention” for Mazda from agencies Team Cosmos, JWT Germany, Team Mazda Europe

“Kinect Effect” for Microsoft from agency twofifteenmccann San Francisco

“Xylophone” for NTT Docomo, from agency agencies Drill Inc., Dentsu Inc. Tokyo

“Linda” for Prudential from agency Droga5 New York

“Start with Sharpie” for Sharpie from agency Draftfcb Chicago

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