MTV Video Music Awards, a Brief History of the Moonman Trophy!

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MTV Video Music Awards, a Brief History of the Moonman Trophy!

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What are the MTV Video Music Awards?

Music and Entertainment channel MTV hosts an annual Video Music Awards (VMA) ceremony to honour the year’s best music videos. The awards show made its debut in 1984 and continues to this day, as of 2016 it is MTV’s most watched annual event!

The MTV “Moonman” Trophy

The trophy that is awarded to the winners was designed by Pat Gorman, the co-founder of Manhattan Design and the creator of the original MTV logo. It reflects one of the earliest representations of MTV, a figure of an astronaut on the moon! (affectionately known as “moonman”).

But why is the MTV VMA trophy a statuette of an astronaut!? It has nothing to do with music…

The first creative director of MTV Fred Seibert decided that with the launch of the channel in 1981, he wanted to give something for viewers to talk about, something iconic. So, Siebert decided to “copy” the biggest TV event in history; the broadcast of the first human moon landing.

On the day the channel launched that is exactly what MTV did! Footage was shown of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon but instead of hearing his famous quote – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” the voice over of John Lack said “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” and a flag was planted on the moon with a bright, flashing MTV logo!

Originally the trophy was made from silver cast, in 2013 it was given a makeover for the first time in 30 years by designer KAWS to a more contemporary design, reflecting the new awards show venue in Brooklyn, New York. It stood at 33cm tall and had a new gunmetal finish. In 2015, designer Jeremy Scott created the third design bringing in the distinct colour of the MTV colour bars and peace sign necklace reflecting his own signature style; homage to bridging the gap between fashion and music.

Custom Trophies by Platinum Awards

Have you got a special awards event coming up? Platinum Awards provide custom trophies for businesses, sports teams, individuals – and more! We have a large variety of designs to choose from including custom trophy designs. Please feel free to view our catalogue, contact us, or visit our showroom in Brookvale (located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches).


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