Apple - Think Different (1997)
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Why We Love Think Different
A. It's indisputable
It’s impossible to disagree with Think Different’s core messaging—Martin Luther King Jr. or Albert Einstein wouldn’t be famous if they followed the rules. And that’s because the campaign is based on an essential truth: people who change the world don’t follow convention. Think Different allowed Apple to built on this rock-solid foundation to frame its own rule-breaking and unconventionality as a contribution to changing the world.
B. It framed Apple as visionary
Apple was one bad quarter away from bankruptcy when Think Different was conceived—it had no grounds to associate itself with iconic visionaries. Yet it had the spunk to do it anyway. The simple mention of these seminal figures inspired confidence in the brand, and framed it as the soon-to-be-legendary underdog with life-changing ideas.
C. Its messaging was impeccable
By rights, Think Different should have been “Think Differently”—”think different” is grammatically incorrect. But this grammar gaffe incorporated Apple’s essential message of innovation. By purposely eschewing established rules, Apple showed it was taking nothing for granted—even the constructs of grammar.
What We Can Learn From Think Different
1. Go niche
Apple wasn’t targeting the casual consumer with this campaign—it was aiming for artists, creatives, designers, and visionaries. But, although it narrowed its target market, this market was much more engaged and passionate about Apple’s products, enabling it to drastically increase its market share. Don’t be afraid to target a specific group of consumers.
2. Think small
Before Apple ran Think Different, it had 25 different marketing campaigns—each with different messaging. Consolidating these campaigns allowed Apple to present one unified message to the world. And its impact was that much stronger, since it wasn’t lost in the noise. Think about what your brand’s core messaging is—and then run with it.
3. But dream big
The biggest lesson of “Think Different” is just that—don’t do what’s conventional. It seems ridiculous to compare a failing computer brand to an iconic civil rights leader, or a global peacemaker. Yet, Apple went on to be one of the foremost brands in the world, in part because of this messaging. So dream big, as long as you’re thinking different.
Think Different Debuts
The campaign debuts with a commercial and print promos
"Think Different" wins an Emmy for best commercial