Apple Think Different Campaign

Apple‘s television advertising has been key to the renewal of Apple loyalty and excitement in the world. The Think Different campaign, launched in 1997, was a central factor in Apple’s recovery from financial difficulty, winning admiration for creativity as well as focused attention for new products.

Apple Think Different Campaign Montage

Voiceover for Think Different

Richard Dreyfuss reads the voiceover:

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,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that 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 hasn’t been written?
Or, gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,
are the ones who do.

Footage for Think Different #1

Albert Einstein, smoking a pipe
Bob Dylan, moving to his harmonica
Martin Luther King, at the end of his Washington speech
Richard Branson, shaking champagne
John Lennon and Yoko Ono singing
Buckminster Fuller demonstrating the Bucky Ball
Thomas Edison thinking
Mohammed Ali dancing for the press
Ted Turner boxing the air with a smile
Maria Callas blowing a kiss
Mahatma Gandhi smiling
Amelia Earhart arriving
Alfred Hitchcock speaking
Martha Graham dancing
Jim Henson puppeteering
Frank Lloyd Wright walking by his home
Picasso painting
A child dreaming (Seinfeld in Version 2)

Think Different Background

Steve Jobs had just returned to the struggling company, Apple. Jobs and Lee Clow had collaborated back in 1984 to launch the MacIntosh. Now was the time to recover the sene of Apple’s place in the world of creative users. The TBWA Chiat/Day team said that Apple should be aligned with the creativity of personalities and people making an impact on the twentieth century. The “Think Different” phrase provided an opportunity to celebrate both the creativity of these people but also the distinctiveness of Apple in the computing world, responding to IBM’s historic campaign motto, “Think”. The campaign was swiftly approved by Apple, then begun with the television commercial, which first ran on Sept. 28 1997, followed by the print ads, billboards and posters.

In 1998 the television spot won the second annual primetime Emmy Award for best commercial from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). The ad also won a Belding, a Silver Lion at Cannes. The long term campaign won an Effie award for marketing effectiveness.

There’s an excellent write up of the Think Different campaign at Wikipedia.


The Apple Think Different campaign was developed at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles by chief creative officer/account director Lee Clow, creative directors Ken Segall, Rob Siltanen, Eric Grunbaum, Amy Moorman, art director/executive producer/director Jennifer Golub, art directors Jessica Schulman, Margaret Midgett, Ken Younglieb, Bob Kuperman, Yvonne Smith, Susan Alinsangan, copywriter Craig Tanimoto.

Think Different was edited by Dan Bootzin, senior editor of the in-house arm, Venice Beach Editorial. Stock phototography and film research was carried out by Susan Nickerson, owner and head stock-footage researcher with Nickerson Research.

Think Different Online

The ads are available to view online. Apple did have a page dedicated to the campaign but have now withdrawn it. RedLightRunner have the Think Different Posters for sale along with a 10 mb copy of the original commercial.

Gary L. Gray, associate professor in engineering science and mechanics at Pennsylvania State University, hosts what he calls Some Cool QuickTime Movies, mostly ads for Apple. Included on this page is the original commercial, a version including Seinfeld, and a parody with the same voiceover but this time featuring love/hate characters, including Charles Manson, OJ Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Ellen Degeneres, Adolf Hitler, Beavis and Butthead.

Click on the image below to play the American parody video.

Stephanie Clarkson has had a desktop image page based on the ad, since it aired in 1997. She gives biographical details for each of the people featured in “Think Different #1”.

5 Replies to “Apple Think Different Campaign”

  1. Thanks for the post. However, the text above is a longer version than the actual voice over read by Dreyfuss. The lines are not read in the commercial:

    -They invent. They imagine. They heal.
    -They explore. They create. They inspire.
    -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 hasn’t been written?
    -Or, gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
    -We make tools for these kinds of people.

    In most ways the extra lines make the ad into a complete poem.

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