“2006 was a groundbreaking year for YouTube, user-generated content, and entertaining online videos. With this in mind, we established the YouTube Video awards to recognize the ingenuity and achievements of our community,” said Jamie Byrne, head of product marketing for YouTube. “These individuals put the first stitches in the fabric of the YouTube community. Instead of seeing a way to share videos they saw an opportunity for worldwide visibility and through their success have changed the landscape of how a ‘star’ is defined.”
“It’s incredible how quickly and completely YouTube is changing culture and it’s a surreal honor to be part of something so great,” said Damian Kulash, front man of OK Go. “We can’t wait to get our trophy.”
The community has made their decisions and the 2007 YouTube Video Awards go to… drum roll please…
Most Creative – OK Go
Anyone who’s ever approached the treadmill with dread need only to watch this video from Chicago-born band OK Go. Masterful choreography meets infectious pop, transforming the group’s modest success into real-world sensation. Prior to winning a YouTube Video Award, this video also won a Grammy for “Best Short-Form Music Video.” The clip was filmed in one continuous shot and, when the video shoot ended, the eight rented treadmills went back where they came from. A staggering 13 million people have watched this video on YouTube.
Most Inspirational – Free Hugs
A simple concept — giving passersby a hug — hits a deep chord and becomes even more unstoppable when the police try to end the campaign. Australian Juan Mann set out to brighten strangers’ lives in Sydney by offering “free hugs.” He’s embraced with a mixture of warmth, humor and distrust, but his mission is none other than a random act of kindness. Fellow Aussies Sick Puppies offer the emotive soundtrack. Thanks to the video spreading like wildfire on YouTube and beyond, the “free hugs” concept has taken on a life of its own. In fact, the creators have inspired thousands of fans from around the world who want to start “free hugs” campaigns of their own.
Best Series – Ask a Ninja
Forget Ann Landers. In the Internet age, it’s all about the Ninja. Created by L.A. comedians Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, the “Ask a Ninja” series features a black-clad spastic ninja answering emails from inquiring minds/ninja watchers. With his signature sign-off, “I look forward to killing you soon” and unique ninja lingo, advice-giving (and murder) has never been this fun.
Best Comedy – Smosh
Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, aka Smosh, have the number two most-subscribed channel on YouTube — of all time. The shaggy-haired college students accrued nearly 70,000 fans who watch their every move, whether it’s spoofy music videos or quirky comedy sketches like their winning video about a man who finds himself on a “stranded island.” These early YouTube community members helped establish YouTube as a platform for launching budding stars.
Best Music – Terranaomi
Thanks to her exposure on YouTube, the L.A.-based Terra Naomi went from struggling singer-songwriter to major label darling. She’s now signed to Island Records and will be working in London. “Say It’s Possible” is an arresting song that perfectly captures the classically-trained musician’s crystalline voice and confident strumming. Terra Naomi began vlogging and broadcasting live acoustic performances from her LA apartment in February 2006. She uses her YouTube channel to speak and sing directly to her audience, letting her personality shine. Terra is the third most subscribed-to musician on YouTube.
Best Commentary – The Winekone
Body spray, hot dogs, a Christmas bear mug, a bald spot, Yoda, Adam Sandler, pirates, emo — all of these things are part of what this Canadian vlogger has dubbed the “Worst Video Ever.” The Winekone’s random, rambling monologue offers a hysterical glimpse of a half-naked man losing his mind and combating whiffs of wet dog. The Winekone lets literally everything that passes through his creative and hilarious mind out on YouTube and the Web.
Most Adorable Video – Kiwi!
This amazing short is Dony Permedi’s master’s thesis in animation, with music by high school friend Tim Cassell. The film is about a kiwi, a kind of bird that cannot fly, who spends his life nailing trees to a cliff so he can achieve his dream of soaring in the clouds. A bittersweet ending does not dampen this video’s hopeful message. Kiwi is the number one most watched Film and Animation video on YouTube with more than six million views.