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10 Apple ads that show how the brand has evolved

By Emma Mulcahy, Staff writer

March 26, 2019 | 5 min read

Apple's diversification beyond hardware has taken another leap forward with the iPhone maker introducing ad-free subscription services across gaming, TV and news. It is the latest step in the evolution of a brand that has been transformed dramatically since it first came to public prominence.


Apple adverts

As a mainstay in top ranking global brands and synonymous with innovation, Apple’s faithful following is one that has been cultivated across years of spot-on marketing and acclaimed advertising. And it is in these commercials where the changing dynamic of the company can be seen.

Here we look back on some of the most impactful adverts in Apple’s history, exploring how they have each left a lasting imprint on its audience and evolved its product offering.

'1984' (1984)

First shown during the 1984 Super Bowl, this Ridley Scott-directed ad revolutionised the way the world was talking about computers.

The dramatic cinematography coupled with the reference to George Orwell's dystopian classic impressed audiences and capitalised on Reagan America's fascination with consumerism.

‘Crazy Ones’ (1997)

The first ad launched as part of Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign, this black and white commercial served to align the brand with internationally recognised revolutionaries.

Featuring celebrated rebels such as Dr Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Picasso, the ad honoured those once considered ‘crazy’ for their progressive ideas, and world-changing work. For many, this is the most inspiring of Apple’s adverts.

‘Three Steps’ (1998)

In a not-so distant past, the public was not quite as tech savvy as they are today. And the mere idea of installing a computer at home was one that inspired dread in many.

Cue Jeff Goldblum and his straightforward explanation of how to set up an iMac at home; spoiler: it doesn’t even take three steps.

‘Silhouette’ (2003- 2008)

Probably the one we all remember best: Apple’s hip young silhouettes letting loose to their favourite songs on iPod.

The striking colours and movement paired with memorable tracks from the likes of U2, The Black-Eyed Peas and Daft Punk served to leave a lasting vision of Apple with audiences worldwide.

‘Hello’ (2007)

This advert had its world premiere at the 2007 Oscars and heralded the launch of arguably the most important Apple invention: the iPhone.

The ad boasted a plethora of onscreen legends and characters, including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and SJP as Carrie Bradshaw as they answered phones with ‘Hello’. An outstanding introduction to the world.

‘1, 2, 3, 4’ (2007)

Yet another perfect pairing of imagery with music, this ad celebrated the launch of the iPod Nano.

The simplistic colours and shapes of the commercial, coupled with the cutesy Canadian pop song, struck a chord with Apple’s market.

‘Envelope’ (2007)

Launching the MacBook Air and providing us with yet more Shazam fodder, this commercial from 2007 featured music by French-Israeli artist Yael Naim.

The advert celebrated the thin and compactible new laptop by fitting it inside an office envelope and was a global success, despite the mockery of Apple’s tech rival rival, Lenovo.

‘Joke’ (2011)

Starring indie actor John Malkovich, this Apple advert ushered in Siri as the iPhone 4s’ built-in AI feature.

While the commercial showcased the numerous practical aspects of the Siri feature, in true Apple style the standout characteristic was Siri’s ability to tell jokes - imbuing high-tech hardware with a human element.

The Rock x Siri: Dominate the Day’ (2017)

Another Siri advert featured on this list, we now see her play sidekick to The Rock’s superhero character.

Celebrating a whole host of the AI’s incredible features, this cinematic advert was a hit on silver screens and small screens worldwide.

'The Rock', 2017 Apple

WWDC Commercial (2017)

Tapping into the older generation's catastrophising of millennial and Gen Z's reliance on technology.

In this advert Apple envision a disaster-stricken world without apps... and the results are worryingly funny. A great opportunity for Apple to poke fun at itself.

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