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The Story Behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Campaign

The Story Behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Campaign

Forbes has a lengthy post by Rob Siltanen, chairman and chief creative officer at Siltanen & Partners, telling the real story about Apple’s famous “Think Different” campaign. It’s an interesting peek into the behind the scenes story of a legendary ad campaign.

Siltanen writes:

Apple’s remarkable rise, coupled with Steve Jobs’ recent death, has prompted quite a few people to reflect on the historical impact of the “Think Different” ad campaign and the “To the crazy ones” commercial that launched it. There have been a lot of different accounts of how the work was created, who conceived it, and how it was presented to Jobs, so I thought now was a good time to share my own perspective and give you an inside look.

How do I know what took place? I was there—right in the thick of it. I was the creative director and managing partner at TBWA/Chiat/Day working on the Apple pitch alongside CEO and Chief Creative Officer Lee Clow.

Siltanen says he and Clow headed up and participated in all of the work done for the pitch, and he was also in every agency meeting with Jobs throughout the process.

Siltanen decided to tell the “real story” after seeing the story as it’s set forth in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. He says that in the book, Isaacson incorrectly suggests Jobs created and wrote much of the “To the crazy ones” launch commercial.  He says this was “revisionist history”.

He says:

Steve was highly involved with the advertising and every facet of Apple’s business. But he was far from the mastermind behind the renowned launch spot. In fact, he was blatantly harsh on the commercial that would eventually play a pivotal role in helping Apple achieve one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in business history.

When Siltanen presented the original “crazy ones” script, Jobs read it and announced the script was “sh**”. He says quite a few accounts of how the “Think Different” campaign was conceived are “less than correct”, and that Craig Tanimoto, a TBWA/Chiat/Day art director was the main mind behind the concept.

While lengthy, the story behind the prolific campaign is an interesting read, and should be required reading for any true Apple history buff.

Read the entire Forbes article here.