And the Best of the Decade Award for Pretty Much Everything Goes to…

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You know how Michael Jackson won so many awards in his lifetime that they had to start inventing new ones to justify dragging him onstage? Entertainer of the Universe and Best Selling Artist in the New Galactic Empire spring to mind. Hey, that’s the price of über-success.

Apple’s getting a taste of that very same medicine now, as it is named recipient of a boatload of “Best…” titles in AdweekMedia’s “Best of the 2000s” Awards. Described by AdweekMedia as “Our picks, and yours, for the decade’s best in the marketing, media and agency world” the awards include yawn-inducing categories such as “Agency executives of the Decade” and “Small Agency of the Decade” but thankfully all the best stuff is hugely more accessible — and interesting — to non-marketing-types (which, thankfully, describes most of us).

Here’s the opening paragraph from AdweekMedia’s dedicated awards website:

Steve Jobs and the iPod reinvented the music business. Sergey Brin and Larry Page tamed the Web. Ad shop Goodby, Silverstein & Partners rewrote the creativity book. And this thing called social media put amateurs in charge of just about everything else.

They definitely start as they mean to go on, since Apple, its products, campaigns and personalities bag a good number of the awards. AdweekMedia say they spent a month working out a list of “…the best and brightest in the branding, marketing, media and agency world in 33 categories over the past 10 years.” I’m glad to see they’re mindful of the criticisms leveled at industry awards that never seek the opinions of the actual, product-buying public; “As a reality check, we sought your input here on this site over the past month.”  They add, “Those results are presented here, next to our selections. Much of the time, we agree. Other times it’s not even close.”

Here’s the breakdown of the awards (images from the AdweekMedia awards website).

Marketer of the Decade – Steve Jobs

Good old Steve. Last month Fortune named him CEO of the Decade, and he’s a finalist for TIME’s Person of the Year 2009. Another award can’t hurt, right? Here’s a brief excerpt from AdWeekMedia’s positively glowing review of El Jobso:

Visionary, iconoclastic and fearless, Steve Jobs the marketer is inseparable from Steve Jobs the personality. His inimitable blend of competitive skill and design savvy hasn’t just saved a fading brand, it’s recast two businesses that used to have nothing to do with computers: music and mobile phones. Over the past decade, Apple’s iPod and iPhone have redefined popular culture, and returned the company to its roots in innovation and just-plain coolness.

Campaign of the Decade – Apple, “Get a Mac”

The genius is in the casting. For Apple, the campaign managed the neat trick of making the brand look laid back and cool while it mercilessly skewered its rival.

Out-of-Home Ad of the Decade – Apple, “Silhouettes”

You’d have thought Andy Warhol did them—and why not? In the end, the work was nearly as iconic. The treatment […] achieved what in branding is the nearly impossible: defining a product without showing what it even looked like up close.

Brand of the Decade – Apple

Though the brand almost petered out in the ’90s, last year consumers told Interbrand that Apple was the thing they couldn’t live without and the one they found most inspiring.

There wasn’t always consensus between AdweekMedia’s nominations and the opinions of their readers. The Marketing Innovation of the Decade award was won by “Viral Videos” while their Reader’s Choice had it go to Apple for “iPhone Apps.” The Reader’s Choice award for Digital Device/Platform of the Decade was the iPhone, while AdweekMedia preferred to give it to Facebook, instead.

In a nice twist where, again, readers didn’t agree with AdWeekMedia’s choice, at least they were in disagreement over which Apple product to laud; both the iPod and the iPhone won Product of the Decade, depending on your point of view. And while the readers voted Steve Jobs Media Executive of the Decade, it went instead to Rupert “Google is Stealing My Stuff” Murdoch. Other big names receiving awards include Google, television show The Sopranos, the Disney Channel and WIRED magazine.

Despite the disagreements (there are many more instances in which Apple and Apple products feature prominently in the reader’s votes, check out the awards website to view the numbers) it’s still inspiring to see Apple take so many of the top awards. Of particular note is the Brand of the Decade award; coming from a company of professional advertisers and marketers, it’s obvious how much respect and admiration the world of marketing has for Mr Jobs’ company. Remarkable, too, given how much trouble that company was in last decade.

I recommend taking the time to view the awards website and read the full descriptions for each winner; you’ll get an insight into a world we otherwise try very hard to avoid (after all, who likes Marketing?) but be warned — it’s often a polarizing experience! And when you’re done, come back and tell us whether you agree with the choice in winners.

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