iris launches global creative competition this weekend to highlight fast, shareable content

iris will launch its first ever 'Urgent Genius' competition this weekend, which seeks to highlight the need for fast, shareable content in today's world of advertising. The 'Urgent Genius Weekender' will be open to the creative industry at large and will see more than 100 teams from all over the world go head to head over the course of 48 hours to create content based on this weekend's top shared news stories.

The concept of 'Urgent Genius' is based on the current trend of 'newsjacking', where content is created on the back of news trends to benefit from the momentum. It was created by iris' social media creative director Jon Burkhart and regional creative director for Asia Grant Hunter.

For some inspiration check out the Urgent Genius tumblr
Burkhart said: "We want to create crack units of real-time content makers who supplement ad campaigns with ideas that help brands find their own voice in hot-topic conversations. We think this can best be achieved by creating urgent genius. It could be an infographic, photoshopped pic, interactive game, film, whatever. For it to be effective, it must be seeded within 12 to 48 hours of the news story landing in your RSS reader."

Teams who have already committed to the initiative include those from the world's biggest agencies, brands, fashion houses and production companies: Google, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Wieden & Kennedy, Fallon, Droga5, M&C Saatchi, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, R/GA, BBDO, BBH, Neue Digital, DDB, Made By Many, Meanwhile, Salt Pictures, Albion, Acne Sweden, The Brooklyn Brothers, Lucky Branded Content NYC, Iris Worldwide, 2 Sick Bastards t-shirts, a cartoonist from the New Yorker, Puma, Firecracker Films (producers of 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding'), Rubber Republic, Big Balls Films, Miami Ad School and VCU Brandcenter.

Burkhart continued: "We want to move away from a 'Stop Until I Say Go' culture with clients. To respond in real-time and stand-out in our info-cluttered world, we must change the approvals process to 'Go Until I Say Stop'."

Hunter, iris' creative director for Asia, said: "We've had massive interest from around the globe with particularly strong interest from the US. and Europe. But I want to see the APAC region represented in its true light - we have brilliant talent out here who are more than capable of creating the very best Urgent Genius content."

The competition will begin this Friday 18th February at 1900 hours (teams' local time) with a briefing on a topic of global interest. Teams of up to seven from around the UK will congregate in a dedicated area of iris' London office to receive the brief at 1800 hours (GMT), but teams in other countries will be briefed remotely. At 1900 hours, the competition will begin officially and teams will have until 1900 hours (local time) Sunday 20th February to produce their content.

Content will then be reviewed by a panel of judges, with an initial round of culling where only the best bits of content will go through to the next round. Teams will then have seven days to seed their content*. Judges will include some of the creative community's best-known names such as: Luke Sullivan, Group Creative Director at GSDM, author of "Hey Whipple Squeeze This"; Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner, Lean Mean Fighting Machine; Roo Reynolds, Head of Emerging Platforms, Wieden+Kennedy London; David Brown, regional digital director for Asia Pacific, iris Worldwide; Renny Gleason, Global Director of Interactive Strategies, Wieden + Kennedy Portland and Guy Roberts, Creative Director, Droga5 Auckland.

To win, entrants must generate the most traffic in terms of 'Likes', shares and views in the seven days following the competition. The 'Urgent Genius Power Rule' (based on 'The Real-time Power Law' by David Meerman Scott), will then calculate true influence by taking into account a team's current seeding network, attempting to level the playing field for an individual entering as a 'lone ranger' team versus a team from a global networked agency.

The best work will feature at the world's biggest interactive festival SXSW in March, where iris will be giving four talks- the most to be selected from any advertising agency. The work will also appear in an Urgent Genius book to come soon.

Teams can enter by visiting the website: or for recent examples of 'Urgent Genius' from across the industry, see the Urgent Genius tumblr:

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