Around the world, TEDx has become synonymous with creativity, education, and innovation. The brand equity is the envy of many, but it comes at a cost for TEDxChristchurch: every year the event must push new boundaries and refresh its image to show it’s as innovative and creative as the people speaking. In 2017, after a massive event the previous year, the decision was made to strip TEDxChristchurch right back: smaller venue, smaller crowd, and smaller budget. Our challenge was to create an exceptional identity nonetheless.
To celebrate the stripped-back approach, Strategy worked with TEDxChristchurch to develop the theme “Unplug. Reconnect” for the 2017 event. The idea was simple: when we cut out all the noise of the digital world we live in, we get closer to the true essence of what TED is all about — ideas worth spreading from people to people.
To represent the theme, Strategy drew inspiration from the unplugged music scene to create a newspaper programme which worked more like a series of lo-fi band posters rather than a traditional glossy publication. Each poster contained a bold phrase relating to the event, and these were cleverly crafted to be mashed together across the centrefold. As a result, TED’s tagline of “ideas worth spreading” became “ideas worth stealing” in the programme’s folded form, and “we are a tribe” became “we are a cult.”
The work resulted in a sold out event accompanied with an extremely high Net Promoter Score of 80 — meaning 80% of people would actively promote the event to friends. Strategy successfully delivered a visually challenging identity to the established TEDx brand and this helped anchor it as innovation-lead while refreshing its image.