Apple Inc. advertising

Apple Inc. advertising

In the past two decades, Apple Inc. has become appreciated for the "artistic" and free-thinking messages of its advertisements, which reflect a business plan of marketing their products to creative individuals. Their most significant ad campaigns include the "1984" Super Bowl commercial, which introduced their company as revolutionary, independent, and subversive, as well as the 1990s Think Different campaign, which featured major artists, and the "iPod people" of the 2000s, featuring several colorful, dancing silhouetted people. Apple's portable music player, the iPod, has even been showcased as a piece of contemporary art in New York's Museum of Modern Art.Fact|date=July 2007

Since the original Macintosh Super Bowl commercial in 1984, which mimicked imagery from George Orwell's "1984", Apple has maintained a style of homage to contemporary visual art in many of its more famous ad campaigns. For example the Think Different campaign, which linked Apple to famous social figures--including artist John Lennon and social activist Mahatma Gandhi.

Apple has been criticized, however, for its sometimes questionable use of modern art as an inspiration for its marketing campaigns--at times re-creating a short film or music video shot-by-shot for its commercials. Some artists have documented entering into rights-negotiations with Apple, only to have Apple pull out of the discussions, then use the artistic imagery anyway. As a result, several lawsuits have been filed against Apple by artists and corporations alike, such as visual artist Louis Psihoyos and shoe company Lugz. These claims were later confirmed.

In 1997 the Think Different campaign introduced Apple’s new slogan, and in 2002 the Switch campaign followed. The most recent advertising strategy by Apple is the Get a Mac campaign.

Today, Apple focuses much of its advertising efforts around “special events", and keynotes at conferences like the MacWorld Expo and the Apple Expo. The events typically draw a large gathering of media representatives and spectators. In the past, special events have been used to unveil the Power Mac G5, the redesigned iMac, and many other Apple products.

1980 - 1985


Apple also ran a “Test Drive a Macintosh” promotion that year, in which potential buyers with a credit card could try a Macintosh for 24 hours and return it to a dealer afterwards.

It began to look like a success with 200,000 participants, and "Advertising Age" magazine named this one of the 10 best promotions of 1984. However, dealers disliked the promotion and supply of computers was insufficient for demand, and many computers were returned in such a bad shape that they could no longer be sold.

1984 Television Commercial - Launching The Macintosh

"1984" is the title of the television commercial that launched the Macintosh personal computer in the United States, in January 1984.

The commercial was first aired nationally on January 22, 1984 during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. [cite book
last = Pogue
first = David
coauthors = Joseph Schorr
title = Macworld Macintosh SECRETS
publisher = IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.
location = San Mateo
date = 1993
pages = 251
isbn = 1-56884-025-X
] The ad showed an unnamed heroine (played by Anya Major) wearing orange shorts, red running shoes, and a white tank top with a Picasso-style picture of Apple's Macintosh computer, running through an Orwellian world to throw a sledgehammer at a TV image of Big Brother — an implied representation of IBM — played by David Graham. [ [ Google Answers article #741952] ] The concluding screen showed the message and voice over "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984'." At the end, the Apple "rainbow bitten apple" logo is shown on a black background.

1985 - 1990

In 1985 the “Lemmings” commercial aired at the Super Bowl; Apple went as far as to create a newspaper advertisement stating “If you go to the bathroom during the fourth quarter, you'll be sorry.”Fact|date=October 2007

It was a large failure and did not capture nearly as much attention as the 1984 commercial did. Many more brochures for new models like the Macintosh Plus and the Performa followed.

1990 - 1995

In the 1990s Apple started the “What's on your PowerBook?” campaign, with print ads and television commercials featuring celebrities describing how the PowerBook helps them in their businesses and everyday lives.

Durring 1994, Apple introduced the worlds first infomercial style sitcom named 'The Martinetti's Bring Home a Computer'. This can be viewed on this YouTube link []

In 1995, Apple responded to the introduction of Windows 95 with both print ads and a television commercial.

1995 - 2000

Think Different

Think Different was an advertising slogan created by the New York branch office of advertising agency TBWAChiatDay for Apple Computer during the late 1990s. It was used in a famous television commercial and several print advertisements. The slogan was used at the end of several product commercials, until the advent of Apple's Switch ad campaign. Apple currently does not use the slogan, and their commercials usually end with a silhouetted Apple logo and sometimes a pertinent website address.

Even today, "Think Different" remains an intrinsic part of Apple's identity, alongside flagship products like the iPod and iMac. The use of the phrase, "Think Different", however, has ceased.

Television commercials

Significantly shortened versions of the text were used in two television commercials titled "Crazy Ones" directed by TBWA's Jennifer Golub with a voiceover narrated by Richard Dreyfuss.

The one-minute commercial featured black and white video footage of significant historical people of the past, including (in order) Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon, R. Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright, and Picasso. The commercial ends with a young girl opening her closed eyes, as if to see the possibilities before her.

The thirty-second commercial used many of the people above, but closed with Jerry Seinfeld, instead of the young girl. In order: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lennon, Martha Graham, Muhammad Ali, Alfred Hitchcock, Mahatma Gandhi, Jim Henson, Maria Callas, Picasso, and Jerry Seinfeld. This commercial aired only once, during the series finale of "Seinfeld".

Print advertisements

Print advertisements from the campaign were published in many mainstream magazines such as "Newsweek" and "Time". Sometimes these were traditional advertisements, prominently featuring the company's computers or consumer electronics along with the slogan. However, there was also another series of print ads which were more focused on brand image than specific products. They featured a portrait of one of the historic figures shown in the television ad, with a small Apple logo and the words "Think Different" in one corner, with no reference to the company's products.

Still today, Apple has the social recognizability that they don't even feel the need to put their name at the end of an ad or on a product, opting to just put the Apple logo on it instead.

2001 - present


"Switch" was an advertising campaign launched by Apple on June 10 2002. "The Switcher" was a term conjured by Apple, it refers to a person who changes from using the Microsoft Windows platform to the Mac. These ads featured what the company referred to as "real people" who had "switched". An international television and print ad campaign directed users to a website where various myths about the Mac platform were dispelled. The television commercials were directed by Errol Morris.


Apple has promoted the iPod and iTunes with several advertising campaigns, particularly with their silhouette commercials used both in print and on TV. These commercials feature people as dark silhouettes, dancing to music against bright-colored backgrounds. The silhouettes hold their iPods which are shown in distinctive white. The TV advertisements have used a variety of songs from both mainstream and relatively unknown artists, whilst some commercials have featured silhouettes of specific artists including Bob Dylan, U2, Eminem, Jet, Caesars, and Wynton Marsalis. Successive TV commercials have also used increasingly complex animation. Newer techniques included using textured backgrounds, 3D arenas, and photo-realistic lighting on the silhouette characters. The "iPod nano - Completely Remastered," series of ads for the 2nd generation iPod nano have a totally different design. The background is totally black. The colored iPod nanos shine light and glow, showing some of the dancers, holding the iPod nanos while a luminescent light trail made by moving iPod nanos. This is to display the fact that the 2nd generation iPod nanos are colored. The silhouette commercials are a family of commercials in a similar style that form part of the advertising campaign to promote the iPod, Apple's portable digital music player. The commercials include television commercials, print ads, posters in public places and wrap advertising campaigns, and are unified by a distinctive, consistent style.

Get a Mac

In 2006, Apple released a controversial series of twenty-four Straw man "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" advertisements as part of their Get a Mac campaign.

The ads, which are directed by Phil Morrison, star actor Justin Long ("Accepted") and author and humorist John Hodgman ("The Daily Show") as a Macintosh (Mac) and a PC, respectively. The format for each commercial is similar: Long introduces himself as a Mac and Hodgman introduces himself as a PC (assumed to be running the Microsoft Windows operating system), then the particular facet of computing is stated, after which the Mac is depicted as being able to do whatever the PC is able to do, but does it quicker, more safely, more creatively, or with more versatility.

Since the launch of the original ads, similar commercials have appeared in [ Japan] and [ the UK] . While they use the same form and music as the American ads, the actors are specific to those countries.

The UK ads feature famous comedy duo Mitchell and Webb; David Mitchell as the PC and Robert Webb as the Mac. The Japanese ones are played by Rahmens, with Jin Katagiri as the PC and Kentarō Kobayashi as the Mac.


Apple is in talks with the New York Yacht Club to be a principal sponsor of an America's Cup challenge to be skippered by Paul Cayard.

Apple began advertising on FreeRice, a program to fight world hunger, on 7 October, 2007.


Prior to Apple adapting their computers for Intel x86 processors, Macs used PowerPC processors from IBM and Motorola which couldn't be directly compared in terms of performance. This led to Apple producing several controversial advertisements. For example, Apple's early ads for the G5 processor stipulated that:

"The new Power Mac G5 is here. It's the world's fastest computer, and the first with a 64-bit processor ...".
"... Introducing the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor, the world's first 64-bit processor for personal computers ..."
"... the G5's 64-bit architecture addresses dramatically more memory - over 4 billion times more than 32-bit chips - so that the systems built around the G5 can shatter the 4-gigabyte memory ceiling that limits every other PC on earth ..."

Advertising authorities in various countries took issue with these doubtful claims, for example UK Advertising Standards Authority gave Apple a grilling for each slogan but eventually Apple was let off the hook because it was actually classing its computers as workstations rather than personal computers.

Debate continues about whether Apple's use of established visual art to sell its products is acceptable. Artist Christian Marclay denied Apple the rights to his 1995 short film "Telephones" to market their iPhone, but then decided against filing suit when Apple ran a similar ad during the 2007 Academy Awards broadcast.cite web | author =Ryan Block | url = | title =Apple's Little Problem with Ripping off Artists | publisher =Engadget | accessdate=2007-07-05]

In July 2007, Colorado-based photographer Louis Psihoyos filed suit against Apple for ripping his "wall of videos" imagery to advertise for Apple TV. Apple had allegedly been negotiating with Psihoyos for rights to the imagery, but backed out and promptly used the imagery anyway. [cite web|url=|title=Apple Faces Two Lawsuits for Alleged Copyright Violations|publisher=Engadget|date=2007-07-04]

Debate continues regarding the moral implications and precedents set by Apple's homages to contemporary working artists. Some artists contend that seeing one's work reproduced in a corporate landscape is the pinnacle achievement in the artist's quest to enter society's ideological landscape, and thus has its own rewardsFact|date=December 2007. Others argue that Apple's use of art without compensating the artist is unethical, and that shifting the message of a work of art toward selling a product significantly devalues the art.

In August, 2006, AppleMatters, a website devoted to Apple products, carried comments by blogger Aaron Wright questioning the veracity of Apple ads that suggest Macs don't crash. [cite web|url=|title=Ask Apple Matters: OS X Crashes After-all|last=Wright|first=Aaron|date=2006-08-01|publisher=AppleMatters] Apple has previously advertised their products as being crash-free [cite web|url=|title=Ten reasons a Mac Is a Better Idea than a PC.|publisher=Apple Inc.] and currently advertises Macs as being "crash resistant". [cite web|url=|title=Get a Mac|publisher=Apple Inc.] While a number of commentators have praised Mac OS X for its stability, [cite web|url=|title=A New Gold Standard for PCs|last=Mossberg|first=Walter S|authorlink=Walter Mossberg|date=2005-11-30|publisher=AllThingsD] Apple has acknowledged the kernel panic [cite web|url=|title=What's a "kernel panic"? (Mac OS X)|publisher=Apple Inc.] and other crash-like issues in their technical support documentation. [cite web|url=|title=Your Mac won't start up in Mac OS X|publisher=Apple Inc.]

ee also

*1984 (television commercial)
*Get a Mac
*Think Different
*Apple Switch ad campaign
*List of Apple Inc. slogans


External links

* [ The Macintosh Marketing Campaign]

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