World’s best ads ever #55: Apple rallies us ‘crazy ones’ to ‘think different’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
When it comes to positioning a brand and its consumer among mavericks and trailblazers, perhaps no company did it better than Apple and its ‘Think Different’ campaign.
‘Think Different’ launched in 1997 with the release of ‘Here’s to the Crazy Ones’. The iconic 30-second spot was directed by the award-winning Jennifer Golub, who served as executive producer for TBWA\Chiat\Day.
What made this ad so different was that rather than promoting a product, ‘Here’s to the Crazy Ones’ pitched a vision, a new worldview, and way of life. Apple identified and engaged its consumer by saying: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.”
Narrated by Steve Jobs, the spot presents a swift black-and-white montage of cultural icons, from Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein to Jerry Seinfeld and Pablo Picasso, thus proposing the ‘crazy’ idea that Apple is next to take the world by storm. Turns out it was right.
‘Here’s to the Crazy Ones’ also marked the return of Apple’s co-founder Jobs, who had left the company in 1985 and returned in 1996 as interim CEO — famously at a salary of $1 per year. The company was in a tenuous state, with sales trickling downwards. As part of his plan to bring Apple back to profitability, Jobs insisted on the slogan ‘Think different’ as opposed to ‘Think differently’. He felt adjectives packed more of a punch, like the phrase ‘Think big’. It’s also widely believed that the phrase was in direct response to IBM’s motto, ‘Think’.
The advent of the iPod and iPhone would soon follow as Apple Inc. climbed the ranks to its now-legendary status. The ‘Think Different’ campaign ran for five successful years. Its slogan remained printed on the back of the iMac box until 2020.