Posts Tagged: think different

Apr 12

Steve Jobs’ crazy idea for “The Crazy Ones”

I had a lot of fun putting together my book, Insanely Simple (coming April 26th). In the course of writing, quite a few interesting memories came back — not all of which fit the theme of the book. So I’m sharing some of those here. (If you’d like to see them earlier, visit my Facebook page and click on “Insanely Secret.”)

Most of you are familiar with Apple’s The Crazy Ones commercial that launched the Think different campaign. And you’re probably aware that Richard Dreyfuss was chosen to read the script. But that decision wasn’t made until the last moment. A week or two earlier, during one of our regular agency meetings with Steve Jobs, the topic of choosing a voice came up.

After we tossed out some possibilities, Steve said, “I’ve got one for you, but it’s going to sound a little strange. Ready for this? It’s Phyllis Diller.”

No, I wasn’t ready for that. But there did turn out to be some logic to it. At that time, Pixar was developing its second movie, A Bug’s Life, and Phyllis Diller had been cast to play the role of the Queen Ant. Steve had heard some of her takes and thought she had a “unique” voice. He made it clear that he wasn’t pushing. He just thought the idea was odd enough that we might want to check it out. Continue reading →

Aug 10

The different-thinking iCEO

A classic video of “interim CEO” Steve Jobs has turned up as the result of an archaeological dig. (A discovery credited to John Paczkowski at All Things Digital.) In it, we see Steve introducing the Think different campaign to a group inside Apple 13 years ago, shortly after his return from exile.

Though a few sites have linked to the video, none have noted its exact place in history. This is actually the first moment that the Think different campaign was shared with a soul outside the group who’d been working on it.

If Steve seems more subdued than usual, there’s good reason. We kept him up past 3:00 am the night before, going back and forth with final revisions to the commercial he unveils at the end of this video.

In the end though, these are merely production notes. What’s really important is what Steve had to say. His presentation is both a primer on the value of brand advertising and an insight into the soul of a company. If you dismiss it as yet another example of Steve Jobs programming his automatons, well — you just don’t get it. This thinking is what separates Apple from the hundreds of companies who simply churn out products.

But there’s something else about this video, something that makes its content all the more remarkable. Most CEOs reject the idea of pure brand advertising even in successful times — and here is Steve making the pitch when Apple was on its deathbed. Rather than circle the wagons, Steve went on the offensive. He spent millions simply to tell the world what Apple stands for, believing that only a strong brand could propel the company through tough times.

I can pretty much guarantee that most of the marketing people who watch this video will go to bed tonight wishing they had a client like this. I can absolutely guarantee that only a tiny handful ever will.