You could argue that these are somehow related, that the young and hip would be attracted by the Think Different ad. I don't dispute that. But the later ads of kids jamming with their iPod ear buds communicate a message that is much closer to the general perception of Apple as a brand today.
 In the clothing industry, this type of positioning wouldn't be noteworthy or distinguishing. But in consumer electronics, advertising more like Abercrombie & Fitch and less like IBM has worked out brilliantly for them.
 The pre-2000 perception of Apple's brand was also somewhat tangential to the idea of changing the world. Their core message was "we're not IBM." In the talk, Jobs mentions this shouldn't be their core message, but clearly it was. The 1984 ad reinforced this, and even the 1997 Think Different ad retrenched this ground by riffing off of IBM's motto.
 Edit: The idea that Apple's core customer is someone who "values their time" and is not a computer geek is meaninglessly broad. Every customer values his or her time, and in any mainstream industry, the vast majority of customers are not computer geeks.
 Edit: Was it the success of the iPod that made Apple hip, or was the perception of the iPod being hip part of what made it such a success? Clearly it did become a fashion accessory. The product's clean design was congruent with this message.
Nike's message is "just do it". It isn't about hanging out with athletes, it's appreciating aspiration and athleticism of all stripes . Nike is a dominant enough clothing brand that they benefit from encouraging general athleticism. Their products are barely present in their branding, if at all.
Apple's message is (and has been) to "think different" and "we're here to help you change the world for the better". Sure, it appeals to the rebellious youth in people, but it also appeals to scientists, artists, and philosophers in search of new paradigms to overturn the status quo. The "think different" commercial isn't about their computers. It's a public service announcement sponsored by Apple.
1. Even when Nike puts Michael Jordan in a commercial, it isn't about "hanging out with him", but about overcoming fear of failure, and "just doing it": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc
PS: Just searched for "nike michael jordan commercial" for more, and found another brilliant piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBxcunGc_nA (again, I'd argue this is about appreciating the beauty of athleticism more so than "hanging out with Jordan").
The Think Different ad was about Apple, the company. Kids jamming with their iPod earbuds was about the iPod. The Think Different ad was about revitalizing the Apple brand, and Jobs points out how the Nike ads aren't even about the product to explain the logic behind that ad, not to suggest that Apple was going to take that approach forever like Nike does. It makes sense that after they'd established the values they wanted associated with Apple, they'd return to product-centric advertising.
In 2008, ten years after the Think Different campaign debuted, six years after the slogan was mostly retired, and well after the earbud ads hit their peak, there was a study on whether flashing Apple or IBM logos faster than could be percieved could prime people to be more creative. The results suggest it's not really necessary for them to keep playing up that angle.
I won't say the restrictive policies governing iOS hasn't dampened the message somewhat for people like us, but you have to remember that a lot of it is about empowering people who aren't super great with computers and don't feel they have the freedom to use them the way anybody here does, because of their complexity and vulnerability. Remember that thread a little while back, where HNers were sharing stories about how some family member would write long lists of instructions just to do something like check their email?
Geeks are such a small fraction of the market that they only matter as a function of influence. The success of desktop linux shows the "power" of said influence.
In other words, Apple can do just fine by telling non-geeks that choosing Apple means that they're technically advanced.
FWIW, geeks do like Mac laptops more than the market as a whole. The "geek cred" ad can leverage that if need be.
I think we see it pretty well already, no? People who think they can change the world aren't the kind who care whether or not Apple gave them permission to jailbreak their iPhone.
It's hard to find engineers who can work on products like iOS, so I think it's understandable if they can't get every nook and cranny of the API into v1.
Sure, but it doesn't mean they had time time update to use every of the 1000's of feature changes that came with it. This is why Flash as a competing platform is a terrible idea - it adds another stage of "rolling out <some feature> is blocked by <someone in another organization>".
Sure, but Apple never hung around people who change the world, that wasn't their marketing message. Their marketing message was that people who change the world don't follow the pack, and at the time of this marketing message, the pack was Windows.
Also, the core value of the Apple brand is not "young and hip".
An appeal to youth's vanity, yes; yet also the absolute true.
And let's not forget that there are people at Apple who actually are changing the world, with the "lame" ipod, the doubted ipad, and (the associated) pixar. That adds credibility; and the branding is also of Apple's identity to itself, for passionate workers, and to attract talent.
I think Apple has actually made themselves several messages: they compare and contrast between the computer geek w/glasses to the normal person (computers for normal people), they target the "creative" crowd (cause rainbows and dancing is creative, numbers/math/text is not), and the combination of that brings the "popular" thing back to normal people (if you own Apple, you're not a geek, but you're still cool and not stupid).
Then as it entered into the mainstream with consumer devices it targeted kids "jamming with their iPods".
Nothing wrong with that, it's just not the same core Jobs talks about in this video.
Then I found out it has not one, but two, complete office suites compatible with Microsoft Office. (Documents To Go, Pages, Numbers, Keynote).
Then I found out it could completely replace my guitar amp, with 5 different amps, 11 stomps, 5 cabinets, and 2 mics. (AmpliTube, AmpKit)
Then I found out it could do advanced photo editing. (PhotoGene, PhotoForge)
Then I found out it could create paintings for the cover of the New Yorker (Brushes, Layers)
Then I found out it could more quickly and easily do my homework than pen and paper could. (Penultimate)
Then I found out it could completely replace a DJ’s equipment. (Looptastic HD, AC-7 Pro, Pianist Pro)
These are just what I’ve come across in my relatively limited exposure to the iPad App Store, and even then only in my relative niches.
It’s still more than enough to tell me the invented dichotomy of “consumption vs. creation” for the iPad is completely false, yet somehow, it’s gained enough hold to generate just short of 4 million hits on Google.
So, next time some writer says you’ll need a non-existent PalmPad with a rumored stylus in order to do “real content creation”, or someone tries to equate a dedicated e-book reader to an iPad, or a competitor’s COO pretends their 9 year old “Tablet PC” initiative is somehow going to be better at content creation, using an operating system designed for a mice and keyboard, ignore it. They are relying on assumptions that aren’t born out from actually using the device and exploring the available software, or they are unaware of how young the platform is (it’s only been 7 months since developers were able to start programming for it, trust me, we’re only just starting to see real innovative apps released), or they are a competitor who is knocking on the iPad because they have to.
My iPad has replaced my notebooks, pens, paper, laptop, guitar amp, PS3, board games, and books. It will only be able to do more in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to write that up.
It's a "lean back" consumption device not a "lean forward" production tool.
Come to think of it, perhaps it's more like a "lean back" production device.
Actually, I think it's more a slab of touchscreen with a minimalistic app manager. What you do with it is up to you ;)
A computer is a tool that can make other tools.
Think about how much more music people listen to thanks to the ubiquity of iPods. Would the indie rock movement have had as much traction if it weren't for all those college kids looking for something to fill their iPods?
Not to mention iMovie, GarageBand, and iPhoto, plus their professional-level counterparts in Final Cut, Logic, and Aperture.
Now go to apple.com. What's taking up 90% of the front page?
Apple is a consumer device company. Sure, they still make great computers, but that's more and more just a side business.
Remember, Jef Raskin conceptualized the Mac as an appliance. Steve wanted to make it as easy to use as a toaster.
Just kidding. Good question! I think it has to do with the fact that the natural home for a computer is the desk while the natural home for the iPad is the sofa or the bed.
"iPad" is friendly. "Tablet computer" is "beep boop, processing..."
Is that not the same as Evian's slogan - live young, or pepsi's marketing way back to the younger people. Everyone wants to be young and perhaps hip, even really old people want to get into the beat. Not that many people really want to or aspire to change the world however. Let alone the older age group, say in their 40s.
: I mean "does what I want" in the "my mom can make a photo slideshow without tech support" sense, not the "I can install Linux on my iPhone if I want to" sense
The big takeaway is in the first few lines of this video:
"This is a very complicated world. This is a very noisy world and we're not going to get a chance... to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us."
The whole branding/selling thing goes like this...
Lunch pitch ~15 minutes > Bar pitch: ~5 minutes > Elevator pitch: ~30 seconds > ?
That last one is your brand. It's the ultimate quick pitch. You've got 5 seconds, what do you want someone to know about you and what you do for a living?
If you don't know you're in trouble.
You give an elevator pitch if you are unknown to an investor. Perhaps a company which is unknown might have 30 seconds to tell the world - if they can afford it - who they are, so that they can get others to remember their brand.
Once their brand is remembered however, you have 30 seconds to maintain your statues quo. Like some Cadbury ads. If you remember the one with the gorilla drumming, it hardly tells us anything about Cadbury, let alone the most important thing. It just makes us feel well good and like Cadbury because unlike other adverts this one was quite cool and so Cadbury keeps being cool.
You're left with no other choice but to reverse-engineer their real philosophies from how the respective companies behave in the market.
The parallels to today's startup scene are really strong, with people fleeing corporate cubicle farms and stale products to create fresh new stuff on small teams.
This speech could have been part of a film "How Apple got its Groove Back".
The iPod ads have nothing to do with this "Think Different" campaign. The iPod ads maintained the "why" as in "Why do we produce these things?" Answer: For fun! For expression! For freeing you from the shackles of a 60 minute CD. For choice.
They didn't go on about what the iPod was (and the iRiver H100 series at the time was a far better machine and the one I chose). They instead went for why it was. That resonated with their audience. They then took that theme and ran with it with every product since.
And yet, just being fun and frivolous doesn't work for everything. Take a look at the iPhone ads; all about function through the app store... and yet withthat function they declare "Fun!". Take a look at the words they use; magical this and magical that. Meanwhile their competition tries to tout function this and function that... and price. Even HP now recognizes what Apple did right and they tried to rip it off with designer notebooks. Too bad that while they have the product the ads still suck (does HP advertise?)
Apple has nailed down what works in marketing for now. They control the mobile space. They control the music space. They have far greater impact on web development than their products have reach. If Adobe/Microsoft/Google ever "get it", watch out. But maybe that is Steve Jobs greatest asset. He knows that they don't "get it".
From now on I will see it as a Nike ad rip-off. A good one, but still.
I bought early one of the most expensive Nike Air running shoes. The quality was total shit and running with them was a pain. I never bought a single pair of Nike shoes again, and I bought a lot of running shoes. There was nothing that Nike could fix, it was just the whole construction of the shoe that was a big fail. Plus it was their most expensive shoe at that time. It was way too soft, the Air sole lost its function early, the rubber was also soft and there was not much left after just a bit of running, it provided no stability at all, and the whole 'Air' was just hot air. The shoe could be used for walking around, but not for running. From running with them one would get all kinds of injuries because of its various construction failures. So the core function and the core value of that shoe, the essence of Nike, was zero. All the marketing money with fancy ads showing athletes was zeroed out.
I then kept running Adidas and currently I'm very happy with Brooks shoes.
I bought early an Apple IIc, then a Mac SE30, a PowerBook, and then a multitude of other Macs - typing this on a MacBook Pro. The quality was good (not always) and Apple tries to improve things (though not always). All in all it was and is fun to use their products.
In the end the 'brand' stuff for me is bullshit of the quality of the product is bad. Apple had some bad products, but it was never such a total failure at its core architecture as that Nike shoe.
He is a megalomaniac, an obsessive driven by the desire to shape the world in his image. He is an artist whose canvas is metal and whose paint is code. Apple is simply a machine that turns Jobs' vision into reality. On Infinite Loop, his word is absolute.
You may love or hate that vision, but just you try and ignore it. Apple inspire many emotions, but very rarely indifference. That is the essential genius of Apple - of all computer companies, they and they alone seek not just to appeal to the intellect, but also to the emotions. No other computer company announces new products to rapturous applause. No other company attracts such vitriol, against not only themselves but their customers. No other company elicits gasps of delight and desire at their packaging.
Apple have done many things to frustrate me and anger me. They have made many decisions that I strongly disagree with. They have also made me cry with joy, on several occasions. To me, "Branding" seems far too mild a word.
This makes me sad.
Many businesses create Ogilvy style campaigns that sell benefits (rather than features). For example:
"Only Dove is one-quarter moisturizing cream"
"At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock"
Apple understands that they are essentially in a commodity business much like Nike. It's tough to sell benefits in that environment when your benefits are the same as everyone else's. In the market they're in, everyone already understands what the benefits are and most people can use a spreadsheet, word processor or web browser equally well on an Apple or PC.
What Apple did is create a new intangible and very powerful benefit with Think Different:
The words "Think different" translated into an Ogilvy style headline would say: "If you buy this product your friends and peers will think you are different and you will stand out from the crowd.". It's not possible to communicate that directly because it's an embarrassing subject. The Think Different campaign takes a wonderful indirect approach to addressing a sensitive issue and communicating that benefit.
This approach of creating a new intangible and emotional benefit in a commodity market has worked so well for Apple that they have incorporated the marketing approach into the entire organization including their sales strategy and their products. Whereas before their products focused on differentiated features, now they focus on emotional differentiation. Apple stores are an emotional experience.
Apple's smaller market share facilitates this approach because their customers have been the minority. So you're automatically "different" if you buy Apple. These days that is less true, so it will be interesting to watch the marketing organization evolve as their market dominance increases.
Here are my notes from the video:
1. Marketing is about values
2. You don't have much of a chance to get people to remember you.
3. You have to be really clear on what you want people to know about you.
4. A great brand needs investment and caring if it's going to retain it's relevance and vitality.
5. At the time of this video Apple's brand had suffered from neglect.
6. Don't talk about features.
7. Nike makes you feel something different from a shoe company.
8. Nike honors great athletes and they honor great athletics.
9. The question Apple asked was "Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that Apple stands for? Where does Apple fit in this world?"
10. Apple is not about making boxes to help people get their jobs done.
11. Apple's core value is that "We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."
12. Apple is going back to their core value mentioned in 12.
13. "Values and core values mostly shouldn't change" ~Jobs
14. "The things that Apple believed at it's core are the same things Apple stands for today"
15. The ad is a way to communicate this.
16. Jobs is clearly and intentionally emotionally engaged with the ad and that engages his audience.
17. The ideas above were distilled into "Think Different."
> The words "Think different" translated into an Ogilvy style headline would say: "If you buy this product your friends and peers will think you are different and you will stand out from the crowd."
tc's comment does bring up the fact that that's not what stuck, but it is what Jobs was trying to get at.
Forget me, I don't want to pop the bubble you live in.
The disconnect between that video at the end of his presentation versus Apple today.
"Think different... as long as we approve your application for download on the app store."
Admittedly a pretty cool video though.
Computer geeks are only one kind of passionate person. Apple's view is that annoying them is a small price to pay for making everyone else's experience better.
It has done an astounding job of attracting developers to their platform, and no competing "Store" does a better job of connecting developers with actual users.
Yet there was no shortage of people who said it would never work, and there's still no shortage of people who keep saying they're doing it wrong.
If they're going to try to say to break out of your shell and be different and go crazy and be rebels (look at the people in that video, jeez) it's ironic that Apple now tells people what they can and cannot create.
Now, I know what you're going to say: "Yes, but we only are allowed to have smart phones because the authorities have found ways of neutralizing their subversive potential! The apps that are truly threatening will be rejected!" I admit this is true - powerful corporate lobbyists have sabotaged my own app where you earn points and badges for turning off lights and composting your trash because of how devastating this would be in their attempts to keep people mindlessly consuming.
I guess what I'm saying is, keep hope alive. Yes, Apple's authoritarian iron fist thwarts our attempts at changing the world, but remember that Gandhi faced similar struggles against the violent British colonial regime, and Martin Luther King faced death-threats, even finally being assassinated. Yes, we mourn all our fallen apps that have been "assassinated" or "lynched" by Apple's arbitrary app store policies, but we must not lose hope, we must continue the struggle and endure these heavy losses. History is on our side!
He talks about Paul Rand, who refused to give Steve multiple options on the NeXT logo. He would do just one, it would be right, and Steve could take it or leave it.
I admire the courage involved in saying "taste is more than subjective, it's right vs. wrong, and I choose to be right."
That's a huge part of the power in Apple's branding.
The message has matured now - perhaps it wasn't just enough to be different - now their message is that they aren't being just different, they are better. You can see it in those product videos they do in keynotes, you can see it in Ive, Schiller, Cook, Jobs interviews and they definitely are trying to be better. In their products they don't have much to excel with the common stuff everybody does because it's the same suppliers for everyone - Intel, NVidia, Foxconn, Samsung, etc. but look at where they are trying new approaches everyone else has tried and given up on or haven't tried at all - a touchscreen phone when everyone said touchscreens don't work or a tablet computer when everyone thought that had been tried and failed or just the spectacular attention to detail (ironically, the most similar company in that aspect would be the IBM/Lenovo with the Thinkpads).
Don't get me wrong, Apple isn't infallible, they have failed spectacularly on some fronts and have been unable to compete on others but they seem to be doing just fine as it is.
I was referring to how before he was ousted and just after he returned he was talking very differently, more passion, genuine. Sure, related concepts to branding they have now, but related only via high concept. Something changed along the way. Take it as you will - it's just a subjective perception anyways.
one thing i disagree with what he says is that it is -not- nike who has the best marketing department of all times but christianity