The publication said it considered naming Apple simply the "Marketer of the Year," but noted that the Cupertino, Calif., company has been a "contender" for that title almost every year. Though Apple has won the distinction only once, it has been named runner-up numerous times.
"Frankly, because this seems to happen every year, we decided to take Apple out of the running for Marketer of the Year and instead crown the tech whiz as Ad Age's first Marketer of the Decade," the publication said.
Cited in awarding the first-ever 10-year distinction were the iPod, iPhone and iPad, all of which were introduced between 2001 and 2010. In addition, strong marketing behind the Mac helped the company's PC platform expand greatly over the last 10 years.
"Apple's TV spots from the past decade are like a hit parade of the most memorable ads," author Beth Snyder Bulik wrote. "Who can forget the dancing silhouettes with white iPods and earbuds against hue-popping backgrounds, or the 'Mac vs. PC,' dork vs. hipster sly hilarity, or even the utilitarian talk-touch-and-swipe-to-get-it-all-done spots for the iPhone?"
"However, Apple ads had other influences on advertising. The introduction of the white background in the 'Switch' Mac ads in 2002 was the beginning of an aesthetic not only for Apple, but for many imitators as well."
Awards for Apple — and, in particular, the company's advertisements — are nothing new. A year ago, Adweek named the "Get a Mac" campaign its Campaign of the Decade, and Apple was named Brand of the Decade. In addition, Chief Executive Steve Jobs was named Marketer of the Decade.
Acclaim for Apple's advertisements extends well before the 2000s. The introduction of the Macintosh was declared with the Ridley Scott-directed "1984" advertisement, which aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVII on Jan. 22, 1984. The 60-second TV spot was made for a budget of $900,000 and is considered to be a masterpiece in advertising.