The ads that have defined the Apple brand

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers


The most beloved brand of today is Apple, which has created a cult-like status to drive towards the masses, giving the brand a bond unlike any brand in our history. Apple is based on the Big Idea that Apple makes technology so simple that everyone can be part of the future. The promise to support that idea is to make things so simple, everyone can feel smarter & more engaged. The Apple story starts whit he belief that technology shouldn’t be frustrating. You should be engaged right away, do more and get big idea map.001

Apple also wields the most power in the market, with consumers lined up behind every new launch, the media giving Apple over 2 billion worth of free media each year and a retail store network that has twice the sales per square foot of any retailer in the world. Apple is now a huge mass market corporate brand, with a market capitalization of $700 billion, 3 times the value of companies like Coke, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer and IBM. They have the Profit and Loss statement that every Brand Leader wants with high margins, relatively low marketing costs, growing market shares and quick entry into every new market.

I recently saw the new “Steve Jobs” movie, which I would highly recommend. I believe he is the marketing genius of our generation–albeit equally flawed in how he treated people. People at Apple used a term “Reality Distortion Field” to describe how it felt to work with Steve Jobs. The movie really captured the good and bad of the reality distortion field: the good is that he had an incredible vision to see things others couldn’t and the bad is he had delusions to read into things that others didn’t. Overall, Jobs was able to get people to produce results that they had believed impossible. The movie uses 3 major launches to anchor the story of Steve Jobs, which triggered my thinking to look at the 3 major Apple ads that defined the brand.


At the time, it was called the best ad ever. What it did very well was express the brand’s vision for the future, even if that vision was ahead of its time. While it didn’t sell many Macs at the time, that was likely due to issues around others parts of the marketing mix such as price and product. I also see it part of Jobs’ “reality distortion field” with the entire market, where he saw things going and it would take another 15 years to catch up to his vision.

Think Different

Upon the return of Jobs to Apple in 1997, his first product launch was the iMac, but the “Think Different” idea really captured how he saw the brand’s purpose and challenger attitude. As much as this was advertising, I believe it an even better internal message to the culture and organization that he wanted to build and how he saw their role was to change the world at the impact level of the world’s greatest leaders ever. There were two versions, one in the voice of Richard Dreyfuss and the other in the voice of Jobs himself. When you see the original copy of the ad below, tell me this doesn’t read like Apple’s true internal beacon you could hang on the walls of the head office. That’s why I prefer the voice of Jobs, almost as though he’s holding his team accountable for achieving what seems to be the impossible in the future.

“Think Different”

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

“I’m a Mac”

The Mac vs PC campaign serves to express Apple’s clear point of distinction with their main competitor and carving out Apple’s big idea around “simplicity”.  With 66 ads made in this campaign, each one points out a new difference between Macs and PCs. This campaign is one of my favorites of all time. At Beloved Brands, we teach brand leaders how to judge advertising using our ABC’S tool:  Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness. This campaign easily achieves all 4, the humor grabs your attention, the iconic side-by-side technique over 66 spots serves to establish the brand and the communication of simplicity and the inevitable answer at the end of each ad helps stick the overall message that Macs are clearly better.

What’s your favorite Apple Ad?

Here’s a workshop we run on helping brand leaders make better advertising. We hope it provokes you to think differently so you can see how you can unleash the full power and profitability of your brand.

We make Brands stronger.

We make Brand Leaders smarter.™

We offer brand coaching, where we promise to make your brand better by listening to the issues, providing advice that challenges you, and coaching you along a strategic pathway to reaching your brand’s full potential.

BBI ads for 2015.003For our brand leader training, we promise to make your team of brand leaders better, by teaching sound marketing fundamentals and challenging to push for greatness so that they can unleash their full potential. Feel free to add me on Linked In, or follow me on Twitter at @belovedbrands If you need to contact me, email me at or phone me at 416 885 3911New 2015 Bio .001



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