Great Experiences: BMW Scores with TED Talks

TED conference attendees hear talks from some of the planet’s most inspired minds, the fruits of which were unavailable to the public for the first ten years of the event’s existence. That changed in 2006, when TED’s organizers began podcasting the presentations through an exclusive sponsorship with BMW. The deal blossomed into a more involved collaboration on TED’s expanding Web site as well as the event itself. (BMW’s Hydrogen 7 was displayed in a TED 2008 “simulcast lounge” featuring alternative fuel vehicles.)

There’s an obvious closeness and mutual respect between TED and its sponsor, easily gleaned from the language the organizers use to describe the relationship. Said TED:

The talks outpaced our expectations, drawing more than 8.5 million views to date. But what impressed us more than the numbers was the impact the talks had on viewers; bloggers wrote emotional accounts of their viewing experience, and passed a great deal of their gratitude on to BMW (With comments like, “Thank you BMW for making these available on my iPod”).

This initial response convinced us we were on to something much bigger than we anticipated. And so we began to reimagine what TED might become online. The result: This new website. Also sponsored, in part, by BMW.

Through the process of working together, we’ve discovered a lot of common ground between BMW and TED, stemming from the fact that we’re both independent, idea-driven organizations. And one of BMW’s main focus points holds particular interest to many in the TED community: sustainable mobility.

When marketers talk about value you can’t buy, this is exactly the sort of thing they mean. But warm fuzzies aside, the ad experience BMW and TED also happens to be outstanding. See for yourself in the following delightful video from Sir Ken Robinson asking the question, “Do schools kill creativity?”

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