Today in Apple’s history: ‘For the crazy’ who ‘think differently’

September 28, 1997: Apple is presenting its iconic television commercial “Think Different”, which has linked the troubled computer company to some of the most famous free-thinking rebels in history.

The most famous slogan in Apple’s history, “Think different”, not only articulates how Cupertino differs from its competitors. He also points out that Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, will create a future that will be vastly different from those who wasted days and lost money in the early 1990s.

Apple’s ‘Think different’ ad campaign

Told by actor Richard Dreyfuss, the TV spot “Think Different” begins with an instant unforgettable salute to the ideals of counterculture. “Here are the crazy ones,” Dreyfuss intoned. “Clumsy, rebels, troublemakers – round wedges in square holes. Those who see things differently. “

Black-and-white images of more than a dozen 20th-century visionaries, from Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller to John Lennon and Martin Luther King Jr., pass as a masterful marketing copy praises the power of bold ideas.

The video ends with a powerful (and grammatically questionable) advertising slogan “Think differently”.

Apple is reuniting with TBWA Chiat / Day

The successful ad and accompanying set of posters did more than simply mark Jobs ’return to Apple. It was also Apple’s first ad to be produced by TBWA Chiat / Day in more than a decade. (Cupertino left the ad agency after the infamous Apple Lemmings ad in 1985, the same year Jobs left the company.)

In the most cynical terms possible, the new marketing flash served Apple as a slowdown tactic. It was an attempt to convince shareholders and customers that things would be different under Jobs.

While most fans watched Jobs ’return with excitement, it didn’t go unnoticed that the most significant thing he’s done so far has been the announcement of one of the biggest quarterly losses in Apple’s history.

Unlike most things that come out of Cupertino without any warning, Apple has actually tried a “different opinion” in advance. Call it a lack of self-confidence. Or make a smart move to “think differently” less with a marketing slogan and more with spontaneity. Anyway, this Apple ad campaign was, well, different.

The “Think Different” ad campaign is taking Apple back to its roots

The original “Think Different” posters definitely caught the mood.
Photo: William J Sisti / Flickr CC

As I described in detail in the previous part of “Today in the History of Apple”, Jobs tested the expression in front of an audience at the 1997 MacWorld Expo. In doing so, he “planted the seeds for the ad to make it look more organic when Apple introduced it [finished spots]. ”

The copy of the ad itself came from songwriters Rob Siltanen and Ken Segall (the latter also called the iMac).

The “think differently” line came from Craig Tanimoto. He also had the idea to pair Apple with various 20th century thinkers. (This wasn’t entirely new territory for Apple: his “Power is” ads from a few years ago featured celebrities like gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.)

Jobs himself was persuaded to record a narrative version of the ad, but did not allow it to be broadcast for fear that people would consider him arrogant.

‘Think differently’ remains part of Apple’s DNA

Jobs originally wanted to use one of Robin Williams ’inspirational speeches from the film Society of Dead Poets for the commercial, until Siltanen and Segall wrote a copy of “Here’s the Crazy.”

However, this idea obviously stuck with someone from Apple. The company ended up using a Williams sound sample for one of its “Your Verse” ads for the 2014 iPad.

Apple’s ad with lasting impact

Apple discontinued its “Think Different” ad campaign with the arrival of the iMac G4 in 2002. However, the impact of the ad is still felt to this day. It still serves as a kind of guiding mission, similar to the Apple Values ​​manifesto of the 1980s.

Current Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, keeps a copy of one of the original “Think Different” ads in his office. The company continues to update the trademark by filing an application with the European Patent and Trademark Office. (Although people should be advised not to argue with Phil Schiller that modern Apple is something like Apple around 1997!)

What is your favorite ad for Apple? Do you think Apple is still fulfilling its “think differently” mantra? Leave your comments below.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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