The grand prize in the inaugural Bottom Line Design Awards from US magazine Business 2.0 went to the buck-a-throw Livestrong wristbands, beating off competition from Virgin Atlantic's Upper-Class Cabin, Apple's iMac G5 and Motorola's Razr V3 cellphone. Lance Armstrong's wristbands, kicked off with support from Nike, sold so well, one of the judges in Business 2.0's awards said the campaign was "the most successful viral campaign in a decade, perhaps ever."

Lance’s yellow band wins mag design award

Up to 33 million yellow Livestrong bands have been sold to date, with proceeds going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The April edition of Business 2.0 said "good design is nice to look at, but great design exhibits beauty that’s more than skin-deep—it integrates form, function, and market need. The best place to see the latter, of course, is the bottom line, which is why we created the first industrial design awards to honor products not just for their beauty but also for their commercial success."

Business 2.0’s Bottom Line Design Awards were run in conjunction with the Silicon Valley design firm Frog Design.

Of Lance Armstrong’s wristband, Business 2.0 said:

"Sometimes design simplicity—in this case, a $1 yellow rubber bracelet—is all it takes to make an emotional connection with consumers. When the Lance Armstrong Foundation created the charitable wristband (100 percent of its proceeds benefit the organization’s cancer programs), it partnered with Nike, which donated $1 million to the cause and paid to manufacture the first 5 million bracelets.

"With a brand name reminiscent of Armstrong’s own and a color evoking the cyclist and cancer survivor’s five Tour de France winner’s jerseys (he’s since won his sixth), the wristband immediately struck a chord with consumers.

"Peddled online and at Niketown and Discovery Channel stores, the bands were sold in packs of 10, 100, and even 1,200, so buyers could pass them on to friends, fueling an instant viral marketing campaign in lieu of advertising. And by releasing the bracelets in May, shortly before the Tour de France and the Olympics, the charity ensured that they’d be seen on the wrists of prominent athletes. The product even inspired a plethora of imitators, including a pink wristband that benefits breast cancer research. “It was without a doubt the most successful viral campaign in a decade, perhaps ever,” says judge Arnie Freeman. “Becoming a cultural phenomenon usually takes millions of dollars in public relations and advertising. This one did it with a lovely, simple design.”

Other products in the awards pot were Fiskars Posthole Digger; Pixar’s The Incredibles; Spain’s Millau Viaduct and Sony’s PlayStation Portable.

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