Adweek: Campaign of the Decade: Apple Mac; Marketer of Decade: Steve Jobs; Product of Decade: iPod

Adweek has announced their “Best of the Decade” awards featuring several wins and mentions for Apple Inc.:

CAMPAIGN OF THE DECADE : Apple, “Get a Mac”Apple always diverged from the “speeds and feeds” ads associated with the computer category, but the brand really defined itself with the 2006 launch of TBWA\Media Arts Lab’s “Get a Mac” campaign. That series of 60-plus ads brought some humanity into the equation by turning the machines into live-action cartoons. In so doing, the comic spots offer transparent understanding of the aspirations of its audience and how people identify—and connect emotionally—with technology. The genius is in the casting. The Mac guy, Justin Long, is a younger version of Steve Jobs who is casual and comfortable in his skin. PC, personified by John Hodgman, as a rounder, paler Bill Gates, is a well-meaning geek with all kinds of operating problems. For Apple, the campaign managed the neat trick of making the brand look laid back and cool while it mercilessly skewered its rival.

MEDIA EXECUTIVE OF THE DECADE: Rupert Murdoch (Readers Choice: Steve Jobs)

• OUT-OF-HOME AD OF THE DECADE: Apple, ‘Silhouettes’ (iPod)You’d have thought Andy Warhol did them—and why not? In the end, the work was nearly as iconic. Perennially at work on new ways to brand Apple’s products, TBWA\Media Arts Lab took the wraps off of “Silhouettes” in 2003. It didn’t just brand the iPod—it immortalized it. Eschewing a workaday product shot, “Silhouettes” shows the frenetic happiness caused by the product—in a series of literal silhouettes, freeze-frame shots of people dancing with their iPods in hand. The stark contrast of black figures and bright-colored backgrounds set off the presence of the iPod’s sleek white body and signature earbuds. The treatment (which racked up a shelf full of industry honors including a Grand Effie in 2005) not only made the digital music player instantly recognizable in any language and culture, but it also achieved what in branding is the nearly impossible: defining a product without showing what it even looked like up close.

RADIO PERSONALITY OF THE DECADE: Rush Limbaugh (Limbaugh is Mac user who frequently extols Apple products on-air)

• DIGITAL CAMPAIGN OF THE DECADE: Nike + (iPod)If there was a knock against Nike Plus from the ad world, it was what it wasn’t: an ad. Which was, of course, the point. Created in 2006, it defined how a brand can build a self-sustaining platform by giving customers an easy tool—a chip in their shoe that connects to their iPod music player—to track and share their training progress. Nike Plus takes “Just do it” and actually helps runners get it done. Since its launch, Nike Plus runners have logged more than 100 million miles—enough for more than 400 roundtrips to the moon. It’s little coincidence that Nike steadily increased its running shoe market share from 48 percent in 2006 to 61 percent in 2008. Along the way it created something for brands to aspire to: a product experience that reinforces the brand message.

MARKETER OF THE DECADE: Steve JobsWhen Steve Jobs returned to a struggling Apple in 1997, he brought back his original agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, with specific instructions: Buy us some time. Jobs knew that the iMac could well save the company he’d founded in 1976 (he’d left a decade later, after a management shakeup)—but the new model was 12 months off. Meanwhile, to let the world know Apple was not going away, Jobs needed a rallying cry—something to remind the core following of Apple’s rebel spirit. The result: “Think different.” The effort relaunched the Apple brand, but carried an equally important message: Steve was back. 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. (Apple’s market share in PCs also jumped from 3.8 to 10 percent.) Along the way, Apple got its advertising groove back as well. Work from TBWA\Media Arts Lab underscored Apple’s positioning as a top-end brand that believes its products are worth the extra money. Jobs knew that people who choose Apple over a cheaper competitor are saying something about themselves: that they, too, think different.

• MARKETING INNOVATION OF THE DECADE: Viral Videos (Readers Choice: Apple iPhone Apps)

• BRAND OF THE DECADE: AppleIn terms of politics and world events, this has been a wild decade, but on the marketing front, one thing has remained constant: Apple’s emotional connection to consumers, who reward it with an almost cult-like loyalty. 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. Why? Perhaps it’s Apple’s vaguely antiauthoritarian stance (epitomized in its iconic “1984” ad). A true-in-practice focus on relentlessly improving its products also helps. But maybe it comes down to this: Most brands are run by committee, but this one is the embodiment of a living, breathing person. Steve Jobs is Apple in the way that Richard Branson is Virgin. Of course it helps when you’re a brilliant marketer who happens to be the CEO.

DIGITAL DEVICE/PLATFORM OF THE DECADE: Facebook (Readers’ Choice: iPhone)

• PRODUCT OF THE DECADE: iPod (Readers’ Choice: iPhone)It was mid-October 2001. The country was reeling from the 9/11 attacks, but the folks at Apple sent out their invitations anyway. The event would unveil a new device that HQ had kept under tight wraps. All the invitation said was: “Hint: It’s not a Mac.” And it wasn’t. It was called the iPod—a “personal jukebox” that defines the ’00s the way the Sony Walkman did the ’80s. To date, more than 220 million iPods have been sold worldwide. The success is all the more amazing because Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player—it redefined it. Prior to the iPod launch, the devices on the market were ugly, weak and could barely hold one album. Apple added more capacity, stronger batteries and a space-age case by designer Jonathan Ive to the mix. What really drove it, though, was iTunes, Apple’s music store, which became a de facto standard for digital music. As Apple did its best to close off iTunes to competitors, the company enjoyed a near monopoly for most of the decade.

Full article here.


  1. 1990s: Apple going down the tubes, Economy great
    2000s: Apple skyrocketing, Economy tanking

    Not saying… just saying. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. • MINISCULE MARKET SHARE, OVERPRICED, PROPRIETARY TOY COMPUTER OF THE DECADE: MAC – MAC abandoned colors for a cold, drab metallic look in a likely effort to cut costs and stay afloat in a severely weakened global economy as the decade progressed. Next year we’ll be reading how MAC will license Windows 7 and abandon the Windows Mobile wannabe I-Phone to stay in business. All this perceived quality doesn’t mean a thing without market share.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  3. @Zune Tang®

    Don’t worry ZT. Ballmer will get his wins before the end of the year. I hear they are voting for the person who contributed the most to the green house effect.

  4. I could have sworn I just saw a chair entering earth orbit-it seemed to be coming from the Pacific coast. Authorities have been alerted. BOLO – large sweaty man with an angry face-striding into offices in Redmond-hurling chairs.

  5. I can’t believe it’s only been 8 years since the iPod was introduced. Given how far it’s evolved, and given all the history along the way, it feels more like 20.


  6. @ZuneTung,

    The “drab metallic look” is by far more elegant than the drab black plastic look of the 80’s that adorns many of the Windoz machines on the market. I don’t think Apple has to worry about “staying afloat” when it’s stock went from $80@share to over $200@share year to date. I think more accurately Microsoft should get out of the music business since they have failed miserably in that market (maybe 10% of the market at best) and are following that path in the mobile phone market as well. Mac does not need to license Windoz Vista service pack… er.. uh… Windoz 7 since Mac will run Windoz already. The quality you term as “percieved” is real and the market share rise for Macs is proof.

  7. @ Leland Jones

    Congratulations, you’ve just won the ‘Hook, Line & Sinker Award’. You’re not the first person to be reeled in by Zune Tang. He’s the class clown around here. When he’s off his meds he gets all ‘pro-Microsoft’. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue rolleye” style=”border:0;” />

  8. @HMCIV

    Strong leadership in Congress
    Weak leadership at Apple

    Weak leadership in Congress
    Strong leadership at Apple

    It really ain’t magic.

    Christmas Cheers! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

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