A Different Story

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the script from the 1997 Apple ad “Here’s to the crazy ones”. It kick-started Apple’s Think Different campaign and began the job of positioning the Apple brand as being very different from the mainstream.

At the time the leading providers of PC’s were Dell and Hewlett-Packard but you and I didn’t really care that much about the manufacturer. We were much more interested in whether it was a desktop or a laptop and then whether it was Windows or a Mac.

What’s really remarkable is the fact that perceptually, with this campaign, Apple was competing against Microsoft. Having got their operating systems onto pretty much every computer by the late 80’s and then dominated the main software used in offices by the late 90’s, Microsoft – a software company – had largely eclipsed the manufacturer brands and become the main entity in work and home computing that everyone related to.

Enter Mr. Jobs, or rather re-enter, as his appointment as interim CEO in 1997 was his second bite of the apple – sorry couldn’t resist. His determination to create a product experience that was driven more by aesthetics than anything else meant that Macs were very different to any other computer, in terms of both hardware and the operating system. But it wasn’t Jobs who came up with how to communicate this, it was the team at TBWA/Chiat/Day; the advertising agency that won the account with their Think Different campaign concept. Rob Siltanen wrote the final script for the Here’s To The Crazy Ones ad and you can read his account of how that all happened in his article for Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2011/12/14/the-real-story-behind-apples-think-different-campaign/#68b1f5c162ab

It’s a very powerful and emotionally charged script, and coming away from computing and electronics for a moment, for me it represents a fantastic example of the right way to think about communicating your offering to your audience. I’m talking to the entrepreneurs and the people trying to build a business, reach an audience and answer that existential killer question that has some staring at a blank sheet in agonising frustration and others launching into an impassioned, perfect, professional pitch… “Why you?”

Creativity is born of an instinctive act of rebellion.