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2008 Creativity Award Grand Prize Winner: The Apple iPhone
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Chances are you don't need us to tell you why the iPhone was a major creative moment this year (this story is perhaps one of the few things you've read today without the ubiquitous postscript "Sent from my iPhone"). But as sure as the iPhone struck a chord with well-knit ad and design types, it also rocked the wider world of creativity, communications and business. It was an act of jaw-droppingly beautiful and functional design, it was a pure expression of Apple's brand ethos, it was a media sensation, it was a game changer and, unfettered by category boundaries, our jury (largely A-list ad practitioners) felt that it was the biggest brand idea of the year.
Not only has the all-in-one mobile device—now the definition of a smart, converged media platform—done more for the Apple brand than any ad or press effort ever could, it is a prime example of design-led marketing and the kind of large conceptual leap that is needed to redefine the creative industry.
"The iPhone will be considered as important a cultural milestone as the Ford Model T, Concorde, Walkman and the Chanel two-piece." -- Jonathan Ford
The unprecedented dealings with then-Cingular (now AT&T) that brought the iPhone into being were the first sign of the unstoppable power Apple has claimed since the iPod debut in 2001. Leading up to the June 29 launch, the anticipatory lather was thick—legions waited in lines at Apple stores to be first on their block with the pricey device (most famously, in our circles, Anomaly's Johnny Vulkan, who bagged the first phone sold at the Apple Soho store and auctioned it off for charity Keep a Child Alive). And, like most Apple products, the product itself lived up to the hype, earning rave reviews for its breakthrough touchscreen and overall intuitive interface. Two and a half months after launch (and after a price cut), Apple announced it had sold a million units (at this point, Jobs would remind folks that it took two years for the company to move a million iPods) and recently Apple announced it was on track to meet its goal of selling ten million iPhones worldwide in 2008. Having successfully leapt from its familiar stomping ground into the new mobile frontier, the iPhone set a standard that all mobile companies must now meet. And with Apple's recent unveiling of the iPhone SDK (software developers kit, which allows third party wizards to create applications for the phone), things have only just started to get interesting.
"It's a design/technology turning point that will go down in history—a huge idea that changed how millions of people communicate, to boil it right down," says Ogilvy & Mather Toronto CCO, juror and 2007 Creativity Award Grand Prize winner Nancy Vonk. "Nothing that looks like an ad, no matter how well liked, can say it had this kind of global impact this year."
As for communications, all Apple needed were some ads that simply let the gadget shine, and TBWA/Chiat/Day, L.A. gets credit for delivering exactly that. The product was the centerpiece of Apple's iPhone ads and now, it's at the center of the Apple spotlight and this Creativity Award Grand Prize.