Flashback 1997: Apple Launches ‘Think Different’ Campaign

Twenty years ago today, Apple launched the iconic “Think Different” ad campaign, which still resonates today, 15 years after it ended.

Steve Jobs introduced the slogan at Macworld just months after returning to Apple as interim CEO, telling the audience “you always had to be a little different to buy an Apple computer.” He went on to say…

I think you had to really think differently when you bought a Mac. It was a totally different computer, worked in a totally different way, used a totally different part of your brain. And it opened up a computer world for a lot of people who thought differently … And I think you still have to think differently to buy an Apple computer.

The campaign was an instant hit and went on to play a key role one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in history. It was anchored by the unforgettable “Crazy Ones” spot narrated by Richard Dreyfus celebrating “the crazy ones… the ones who see things differently” against a backdrop of video clips highlighting “crazies” from Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison to Muhammad Ali and Mahatma Ghandi and a dozen more. The spot was perhaps equaled only by the infamous “1984” commercial introducing the Macintosh.

Here’s the text of the “Crazy Ones” ad:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

The story behind the creation of the slogan and the campaign is intriguing and chronicled in great detail by Rob Siltanen in the Forbes article, The Real Story Behind Apple's 'Think Different' Campaign. Siltanen was creative director and managing partner at TBWA/Chiat/Day, at the time the agency pitched “Think Different” to Apple.