Adweek’s 2021 Brand Genius winners

Even with the post-9/11 recession and the 2008 economic collapse in the rearview mirror, few economic calamities have matched the speed and fear that accompanied the coronavirus. Last year, as companies in the service sector closed their doors and layoffs spread like wildfire, U.S. GDP took a nauseating 3.5% drop. The first half of this year saw a rebound in consumer spending, but not before several quarters of profits waned. The past 18 months, in other words, was hardly the kind of time most brands (unless it was Amazon) would have viewed as an opportunity. And yet, time and time again, marketers have proven that not much can foster resilience and creativity like a crisis. In this section, you will meet 10 who have proven it. They are the 2021 recipients of the Adweek Brand Genius Awards, our annual spotlight, now in its third decade, on the best work in marketing and brand development. Adweek’s editors are also pleased to recognize this year’s Brand Visionary, the award inaugurated in 2012 to recognize the value of a career of entrepreneurial achievement. Content manager Lisa Granatstein flew to Los Angeles to sit with the inimitable Jennifer Lopez to talk about her often-overlooked business ventures, away from the camera and the microphone. With this number, then, Adweek salutes its entire Brand Genius class of 2021 and looks to better times ahead. —Robert Klara

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