You never knew exactly how Steve Jobs would react when you presented a new idea. The only thing you could count on was his brutal honesty.
But, even if he rejected the work, all was not lost. It was simply part of the process. Steve knew that creative work is often iterative, so we’d keep at it until we arrived at a place we all loved. It was a process that actually deepened our relationship over time.
That said, one meeting is seared into my brain because Steve made a particularly biting comment. Not seeing anything he liked in a range of work, he said, “Oh, so you put the B-team on this one.”
In those few words, he questioned how seriously we took the assignment, not to mention our ability to see the difference between “great” and “good enough.” Message received loud and clear. An error in judgment never repeated.
This memory came to the fore because that’s exactly how Apple’s Halloween Eve event made me feel—like the assignment had been relegated to the B-team.
As a rookie copywriter struggling with headlines, my mentors warned me about two unforgivable sins.
One was trying too hard to be cool. The other was stooping to such overused tricks as puns and rhymes.
I rarely think about those days anymore, but every so often a headline grabs me by the throat and demands to be ridiculed. I, of course, am happy to oblige.
It happened right after the recent Apple event when I visited apple.com to learn more about the new iPhones.
Yikes! Intel has launched a new anti-Mac campaign. The nerve of those people—they signed Apple’s “I’m a Mac” guy to attack his former employer. This is war!
Actually, it’s only the latest battle in the Mac vs. PC war that’s raged for 38 years. It’s a war being waged on three fronts—technology, marketing and culture.
And guess what. Through all these years, Apple has almost always been the aggressor. Only rarely has the PC side felt threatened enough to push back.
So, what do we make of Intel’s new campaign? Hold that thought, because it’s best judged in the context of history—and a juicy history it is.
I might overlook some important moments, but I’ll give it my best shot.
Life can be so cruel.
Pity poor Apple. All year, its products compete head-to-head against those from other tech companies. But when its big holiday ad goes up, it must compete with itself—forever haunted by the Ghost of Great Apple Holiday Ads Past.
So how does the 2020 Tierra Whack ad compare?
Not particularly well. Thank you for the entertainment, Apple, but you forgot the parts that made your previous holiday ads so memorable.
You didn’t relate to the joys and sorrows that come with being human. You didn’t express the joy you get by helping people connect emotionally. You didn’t celebrate your core values, which are so relevant during the holiday season.
Damn, HomePod mini looked pretty great in Apple’s unveiling last week.
They had me from the first image where it sat elegantly on the side table. Simple. Clean. Not a cord in sight!
It was my ultimate music-player-intelligent-assistant fantasy come true. A gorgeous device I could put absolutely anywhere.
Until it wasn’t.
Silly me. I made the unforgivable error of believing my eyes. At the very end of that scene, for just the briefest moment, came a glimpse of a cord trailing away from mini.
From there, Apple took us on a winding path visually, with the vast majority of shots showing a “cordless” HomePod mini. A casual viewer could be forgiven for drawing the wrong conclusion.
Out of curiosity, I went back for a re-viewing.
America loves a good “fall from grace” story. At the moment, The Ellen Show is serving up an excellent one.
Public accusations from staff have been nonstop.
Sexual harassment. Bullying. Out-of-control managers. Toxic work environment. It’s a smorgasbord of nasty.
If true, there are but two explanations. Either the real Ellen falls way short of her lovable public image, or she empowered her managers and failed to oversee them.
In other words, Ellen is either a bad person or a bad CEO.
I’m not exactly an insider. But I did spend two months working in Ellen’s world producing JCPenney’s $5 million, five-part Ellen campaign on the 2012 Oscars.