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The Transformers Program 

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

We have all had that fleeting moment of inspiration—in the shower, during the drive to work, even while walking the dog—where everything comes together and the “Next Big Idea” that can potentially revolutionize your job and business presents itself to you.

You’re inspired. And, if you had just five minutes to tell the entire marketing community how you’d transform our business, what would you say?

Well, here's your chance. The 4A's is calling for industry Transformers to enter for an opportunity to present his or her great idea at Transformation 2010, February 28 through March 3, in San Francisco.

We're looking for big ideas and little ideas. We're looking for industry bigwigs and cubicle worker bees. We're looking for brilliance from inside and outside the business. We're looking for transformational ideas that will set the world ablaze. We're looking for you ... to tell us how you'd transform advertising.

The deadline for entries was Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 5:00 PM EST. Period.

About the Transformers Program

Are you a Transformer?
No, we’re not talking about Megatron or Optimus Prime. “Transformers” is a new program from the 4A’s that will debut at our upcoming national conference, Transformation 2010, which will be held February 28–March 3, 2010, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. We’re inviting anyone (and we really mean anyone) to submit ideas for transforming advertising and marketing as we know it.

What are we talking about?
Five minutes on the main stage during general session to tell 1,200* conference attendees your big idea for changing our business. We’ll even pick up the tab for you to get there.**

* actual conference attendance may vary.
** roundtrip coach airfare, plus one-night stay in the hotel.

Can I have more than five minutes? Six minutes?
Nope. Five minutes is all the time you’ll get to dazzle us. We have no doubt that your vision is astonishing and mind-blowing, but to convince the crowd you are going to have to start with the “Abstract” version.

How much does it cost to enter?
Nada. Zilch. Zip. It's free to submit your entry.

Just the relevant dates, please.
Call for entries open: Monday, November 30, 2009
Entries due to the 4A's: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Notification of winners: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For those systematically inclined, what are the rules?

The Transformers program is open to anybody who has a transformational idea. We’re looking for innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers who think that thinking out-of-the-box is a tired cliché. We want visionaries who work in advertising, sure, but we’re also asking anyone who has a big idea that will transform advertising—even if you don’t work in the business—to apply and be heard.

  • Caveat One: You can’t work at the 4A’s or sit on the 4A’s Board of Directors and apply to be a Transformer.
  • Caveat Two: The 4A’s and our blue-ribbon panel of judges will select winning Transformers to present at the conference, with the final number of winners to be determined during judging.
  • Caveat Three: What you present is yours (we won’t own your idea), but you must be willing to share your presentation with others (via Slideshare, Podcast, Webcast, etc.)
  • Caveat Four: Did we mention you only have five minutes to make your pitch?
  • Caveat Five: You have wide discretion for whatever means you choose to express yourself as a Transformer in your initial proposal—via a movie on YouTube, a Web site, a manifesto in Word, etc.—but it simply MUST be delivered to the 4A’s via electronic means only, AND your final presentation at Transformation 2010 can't exceed five minutes.

How to Apply

Thanks for all of the great entries!  The deadline for entries has now passed.  See you in San Francisco at Transformation 2010!

Questions? Contact Kipp Cheng, or Ted LaBarbera,, or follow us on Twitter @4As, @kippcheng, @geeksoapbox

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