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Lego Queen and Knight poised to rally their troops.

The Lego Group’s “Unto the Breach,” by Dylan Woodley, is nominated for a Tongie.

In an effort to give credit where credit is due, Tongal turns a white-hot spotlight on the art and craft behind viral videos, hosting the inaugural ‘Tongies’ Awards at the historical El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles tomorrow, April 2. The event will gather top community members to celebrate the best work of 2013.

The Santa Monica-based Tongal, part of Southern California’s expanding Silicon Beach, recognized a need to acknowlege the innovation, ideas and imagery fueling brand campaigns around the world, according to company Co-founder and President James De Julio. The company has been doing its part to make a mark on that body of work; Tongal has completed hundreds of campaigns for brands including Procter & Gamble, Mondelez, Johnson & Johnson, InBev and Reckitt Benckiser, to name a few (Okay! A few more: McDonald’s, Ford, LEGO, GE, Ricola, RustOleum and Rit Dye).

Awards categories ranging from Best 2-D Animation to Ideator of the Year offer a look at the year’s best grass roots efforts and underscore the changing nature of the way creative brand marketing is produced. Tongal’s take on crowd-sourced creative is to offer funding through an open-call for ideas. To date, 22 “Tongalers” have earned more than $100,000 through the site, while more than 100 people have each earned $10,000 by leveraging the community built around Tongal’s website. (Details can be found at tongal.com/how).

This year alone, Tongal will pay out more than $10 million to community members hailing from 100+ countries. Results have included 12 broadcast advertisements that aired last year (including two during the Super Bowl). The relay-style collaborative approach encourages writers, producers, directors and innovators to submit ideas in response to specific creative briefs. The ideas themselves are voted on and awarded, with filmmakers then able to advance to a pitch phase to sell their favorites. Winning pitches then receive funding to complete the work and compete for grand prizes.

BW portrait of Tongal co-founder Ed De Julio looking casual in an open-neck shirt over a tee.

James De Julio, President and Co-Founder of Tongal.

In this way, De Julio feels the company is making it possible for burgeoning creative talent the world over to get a shot at working on a sizzly campaign for a leading brand, while at the same time creating an orderly path for alt ideas to reach the marketing community’s corporate suites.

Tongal’s original content development benefits, in part, from partnerships with leading studios like Spitfire Pictures and philanthropic organizations such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The Tongal community is full of brilliant and talented individuals who are making a major difference on behalf of global brands and their marketing campaigns,” De Julio said. “The Tongies will provide a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate the Tongalers and their creative achievements during the past year.”

Category highlights include the following:

Best Broadcast Spot – featuring an office mini-drama for Star Wars and Pringles, an Olay Fresh Effects campaign, and a heartwarming coming-of-age spot from Hasbro.

Best 2D Animation – the LEGO Group had a strong showing in this category, securing four of the five nomination slots, including one from a Texas teenager, who has earned $35,000 to date from Tongal.

Best Comedy – Philips Norelco shavers take two of the nominations in this category, with a rarity: all five nominees hailing from the Los Angeles area.

Tongal "community" line drawing depics a whimsical b&w crowd touting blazing red Tongal banners and flags.

Tongal drives community spirit through its website and now with the ‘Tongies.’

Best Idea – Nominated Ideas range for brands as diverse as Ricola, Ivory Soap, and Universal Music. This fun category celebrates the best 140 character concepts.

Best Wildcard Video – a wide range of campaigns for BF Goodrich Tires, Dunder Mifflin, IAMS, Trident Layers and Ricola. Additional awards include Ideator of The Year, Best 3D Animation, Best Foreign Language Video, Best Long-Form Video, Best Original Song and Best Short-Form Video. An award recognizing contributions across categories will go to the Tongaler of the Year. Video of the Year will also be awarded – Tongal’s “best picture.” Nominations were determined by the Tongies Nominating Committee and winners were chosen through an online voting process by fans and community members (known as Tongalers).

Details, including a full list of categories and nominees, can be found at tongal.com/tongies.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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