Apple Advertising

“not another company on earth that could do this campaign” Discuss 0

September 23, 1997. Steve Jobs walks into a conference room to introduce “Think Different” internally. Khaki shorts, long sleeve black turtleneck with the sleeves pushed up- looking tired.
It’s an 18 minute presentation that anyone looking to turn a brand around should watch.

It’s not about speeds and feeds. It’s not about a better product. It’s about the core values of the company- and where does Apple fit in this world.

Yes, he begins with the product line being too complex, the distribution channel being too long and heavy, and that they spend a ton of money on advertising- although “you’d never know it.” He doesn’t blame his predecessors. He looks to the future and thinks about what kind of people he wants to build products for: “we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

They get to use people that had never appeared in an ad- or ever world- for any other company. Partially because they aren’t talking about themselves, and partially because their leadership understood that doing great work comes first.

He cites examples- the milk processor board spent 20 years advertising “Milk is good for you- even though it really isn’t” and sales didn’t move- and then, Goodby Silverstein comes up with “Got milk” – which actually advertises the lack of the product and sales climb.

Jobs says that Nike, who makes a commodity- shoes, doesn’t sell shoes, and does advertising the “best of anybody” by honoring great athletes and athletics. Side note- Nike, for the most part has used Wieden and Kennedy for the brand since the start. Believing and trusting your ad agency is another good lesson. Jobs went right back to Chiat/Day for this campaign for a reason.

The result- is the “Think Different” campaign. Which literally changed everything. People listened to an ad. they watched it over and over- before YouTube. The words from this ad, turned into posters, were remembered as a eulogy for Jobs because it was so different.

Watch the video about the introduction. Learn. (sorry the actual commercial has the music cut out- you can watch the full final spot below).

Apple’s new ads feature Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel Discuss 0

Samuel L Jackson - Say What Again Siri

TBWA\Chiat\Day released two videos Monday night showcasing Siri for the Apple iPhone 4s. The ads feature Samuel L Jackson and Zooey Deschanel.

The video featuring Jackson shows him cooking a dinner for “date night”, asking Siri about organic mushrooms, and doing a few other things that don’t involve yelling “Mother f****r!” (which, I admit, is a little disappointing).


Deschanel, meanwhile, is shown in her pajamas doing her usual cute and quirky things like ironically asking if it’s raining, asking Siri to remind her to clean her room (tomorrow), and goofily dancing out of frame.

The ads are a noticeable break from Apple’s usual advertising style. While Apply has used highly-visible celebrities in their TV spots in the past, these days Apple rarely uses celebrities for their ads other than for Voice Over, opting more for product-focused advertising.

In a departure from its product-as-hero ads of the last few years, Apple has enlisted a pair of celebrities to hawk Siri.

Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel star in the ads, which broke Monday night. In Jackson’s ad, he uses Siri to help cook a meal for “date night” and asks Siri to “find me a store that sells organic mushrooms for my risotto.” (Sorry fans, Jackson doesn’t drop any expletives in the ad.)

Deschanel, meanwhile, plays on her quirky/cute appeal and, noting it’s raining, asks Siri to find someone to deliver tomato soup. Then, she asks Siri to remind her to clean up — tomorrow — and then to play “Shake, Rattle and Roll” so she could dance today.

It’s unclear whether these ads, from longtime agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab, represent a new direction for Apple. The brand has typically opted to use celebs — including Richard Dreyfuss and Jeff Goldblum — for voiceovers.

via Mashable.

The ads do raise a few questions: Could this be the start of a new campaign for Apple and TBWA\Chiat\Day? Why did they choose Jackson and Deschanel? Should we expect to see more Siri-celeb ads out there soon? Perhaps the intention was to poke fun at celebrity-based ads. After all, in the Samuel L. Jackson ad he is departing from his stereotypical bad-boy character while Zooey Deschanel is playing a highly exaggerated version of her character. Whatever the intention is, we will be keeping our eyes peeled for upcoming Apple ads.


Oh, and by the way, there’s a soundboard app called iSamJackson. You’re welcome.

Here’s to the crazy ones Discuss 0

We’re still trying to imagine a world without Steve Jobs.
If you haven’t read his sisters eulogy, you should: “A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs” New York Times link.

The “think different” spot that was created soon after Steve returned to Apple, and moved the ad account back to Chiat/Day and rekindled the relationship with Lee Clow, may be the best short tribute to Steve, even though it’s from 1997.

As a memento, tribute and gift to you- we’ve taken the spot and created a poster for you to print and hang.

Here's to the Crazy ones poster

Click on image for link to PDF of "Here's to the Crazy One's poster



Why Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the reigning king of Hoopla (advertising) Discuss 0

Crispin Porter + Bogusky is proving why they are at the top of almost every agency search consultants list. Burger King continues to have same store growth after years of failed campaigns, and changing agencies. VW was almost ready to give up on the US market, again, but have at least started to rebound sales. But what started out as an embarrassingly bad intro for Microsoft with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, and then into an “I’m a PC” has now hit pay dirt by not even talking about Microsoft’s products, but by doing a comparison between PC hardware and Apple hardware.

“Laptop Hunters” is credited with changing perception of brand value, according to a BrandIndex study:

Based on daily interviews of 5,000 people, BrandIndex found the age group gave Apple its highest rating in late winter, when it notched a value score of 70 on a scale of -100 to 100 (a score of zero means that people are giving equal amounts of positive and negative feedback about a brand). But its score began to fall shortly after and, despite brief rallies, hovers around 12.4 today.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has risen from near zero in early February to a value-perception score of 46.2.

via In Mac vs. PC Battle, Microsoft Winning in Value Perception – Advertising Age – Digital.

Hefty gains in a short time, although Apple hasn’t sat idly by:

But, while this battle royal can wage for years, the real reason that Crispin Porter + Bogusky keeps winning for their clients is that they get the fundamentals right.

They know that advertising is supposed to surprise and delight, not inform and sell. They take great pains to make sure that you might actually want to talk about the ads they do around the water cooler at work the next day.

Today, they pulled one out of the hat for me. I own a copy of “Hoopla” which is their monograph. For the most part, it’s heinously designed making it almost impossible to read, but, inside the back cover- I discovered (via a tweet by Alex Bogusky) there is a secret second book:

This guy @DomineConcept discovered the hidden book that was bound inside the back cover of our book Hoopla » link to Dominé Concept | Hooplanetics and a ripped up HOOPLA book….

Which led me to carefully operate on my $50 copy:

A secret book awaits inside the back cover

A secret book awaits inside the back cover

I’ve also been watching the CP+B Ebay auction of their interns time:


In the past, our interns have created work for companies like Burger King, Volkswagen, Guitar Hero and Microsoft. And now they can do the same for you. Bidding starts at $1 for three months of service with all proceeds going to the hardest working people we know – the CP+B interns themselves. So bid early and often, and world-class advertising can be yours for a fraction of the going rate.

via Crispin Porter + Bogusky Intern Auction: Summer 2009 – eBay (item 270392380113 end time May-27-09 10:57:37 PDT).

Which is currently going for $5,400.

It’s innovative, it’s interesting and it’s not strictly advertising. It’s a conscious effort to manipulate and shape contemporary culture, cajoling and dancing outside the boundaries of conventional advertising wisdom. Everything can be an ad if you make it interesting enough.

And that’s why they are winning awards, accounts and owning the crown of the Hoopla kings.

More on comparison advertising Discuss 0

It’s becoming an epidemic, your competition does a “great ad” so we should “one up” them with something derivative.

Here is TBWA Chiat/Day’s original MacBook Air commercial introducing the super slim computer”

And, then Ogilvy does a response ad (much later) for Lenovo:

And while this may seem funny, it’s not really building the Lenovo brand, but reminding you of who was there first.

I heard a great quote the other day, “cover bands never change the world.”

The same thought applies to advertising.

Comparison advertising: making a comeback? Discuss 3 Comments

Comparison advertising. It’s been around for a long time. In days of old, it was the way to go. Choosy Mom’s choose Jif, the Pepsi Challenge, We’re number 2, so we try harder, the demos showing how Bounty was the “quicker picker upper.”

During the boom years, comparison advertising became passe among market leaders- why give credit to your competition.

Typically, it was a way to leverage a smaller brand against the leader.

Audi challenges BMW and loses

Audi challenges BMW and loses

It’s a dangerous proposition. Look at the smackdown Audi gets from BMW in their billboards in Santa Monica on the right. Those who don’t study their craft are doomed to get hit twice. Honda fired Chiat/Day from their motorcycle account. Their new agency came up with “Follow the leader” to which Chiat/Day came back- now working for Yamaha with “Don’t follow anyone.”

When the economy goes bad- all bets are off. It’s time to go into the cage for a brand on brand death match.

While scrapping for every dollar might not be an option as consumers cut back, the damage it can do to a brand is real. Do you really want to be the cheapest, lowest price product when the money starts flowing again.

Chuck Porter once said at the Cincinnati Ad Club “Anyone can do a better price and product ad, all they have to do is have a lower price” so it sort of shocks me when Crispin Porter + Bogusky starts running ads for Microsoft based on price.

Where “Laptop hunters” Lisa and Jackson go to buy a laptop for under $1,500 and do a comparison between Apple and a PC.

After the drilling Apple has given Microsoft with their “Get a Mac” campaign, which has won an Effie,  and has been credited for doubling market share, Apple had to see it coming.

But, this is the kind of attention Microsoft wanted when they hired the best ad agency in the country to try to breath life back into their bankrupt Windows/Vista brand.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky is again proving that edgy, strategic advertising can get people talking about a brand differently, quickly, by pushing buttons.

They did it for anti-smoking with Truth, Mini with “Lets Motor”, the creepy King and subservient chicken for Burger King, un-pimp your auto for VW and now MSFT is getting the treatment.

[The reality is: both Apple and Microsoft will be in trouble if some 17 year old does for Linux what Blake Ross did for the Mozilla code base to create Firefox.]

Realize that Microsoft isn’t even comparing their product to Apple in the ads- they are comparing their partners hardware- people aren’t validating Microsoft in the buying ads- but Sony, HP, Dell etc.

How many companies would spend their marketing dollars on promoting their marketing partners?

When times get tough, consumers do spend more time evaluating major purchases. However, it’s not price that they look at as much as value. Giving consumers reason to talk about your brand value is only a good idea if it is really there. Look at the response to a Business Week story on the subject of the Microsoft challenge- compared to a holy war.

Maybe the best advice still comes from that old Chiat/Day ad: “Don’t follow anyone” and don’t compare. Leadership has its privileges.

Is Twitter a marketers shotgun or rifle? Targeting customers with Web 2.0 Discuss 0

Conventional traditional paid media is dying a quick death. The old discussion of targeting consumers and buying their attention in :30 second increments is over. Twitter may be the ultimate media for the attention deficit consumer who has suffered media overload for the last 30 years. When used correctly, you can make a million with 140 characters. You just have to follow the lead of the Dell Outlet:

Out next week, but wanna welcome all the new followers based on news Dell sold $1M thru Twitter. Happy Holidays to all!

Twitter / Dell Outlet: Out next week, but wanna w ….

Releasing deals, one at a time to opt-in followers created a new way of connecting intimately with people who want to buy their products. It’s that connection that is the secret sauce of new media marketing in a web 2.0 world.

Traditional conventional media depended on repetition with a twist to keep it interesting. How many versions of “Hi, I’m a Mac, Hi, I’m a PC” have there been? If we tweeted the same message over and over, we’d have no followers in no time.

Social media requires an opt-in relationship, meaning it’s only going to last as long as you keep providing value. Many companies talk about their “commitment to the customer” but- what they need to be evolving to is a “commitment to the community.” Defining and nurturing that relationship isn’t a part-time job to hand to the intern either- just see what happens when a relationship is done right: Robert Scoble (who started at Microsoft and grew a community that would stay with him instead of M$)

Obvious communities are Apple users, Harley riders and Oprah followers. But when you look at how Nike took the solitary sport of running and turned it into a global community with their Nike+ technology, you start to see that opportunities to build community abound.

Twitter is a way to tie your company into a community in real time. Not having to wait weeks to produce an ad and get it out into the marketplace can be a powerful tool to out-maneuver your competition.

There are a couple of posts about Twitter from Rohit Bhargava of the Influential Marketing Blog:

The 5 Stages Of Twitter Acceptance

Five Stages of Twitter Acceptance by Rohit Bhargava

Five Stages of Twitter Acceptance by Rohit Bhargava

Influential Marketing Blog: The 5 Stages Of Twitter Acceptance.

(I’ve copied the image text into the alt text so that this searches properly and is accessible- click on the image to get his 5 stages in computer readable format.

His other post:

9 Ways To Make Twitter More Useful For You

Influential Marketing Blog: 9 Ways To Make Twitter More Useful For You.

Is well worth reading as well. The 9 ways- without their full descriptions to tease you to click on the link:

  1. Listen to conversations in real time.
  2. Track emotion moments.
  3. Get link love.
  4. Reach unreachable people.
  5. See what’s popular/important
  6. Introduce more people to your personal brand
  7. Get quick answers.
  8. Optimize your event attendance.
  9. Read instant feedback.

There are more ways in the comments, including: build relationships with leaders in your field, track customers and competitors, but, most importantly- connect with a community.

Here is the final word on why Twitter is neither a marketing shotgun or rifle- those analogies are just as dead as the idea of conquering customers in a war for market share. You don’t buy market share, you don’t win it- you earn it, by building relationships with real people, one-on-one, in real time.

If you want to follow my thoughts on marketing- long and short, you can follow me at

Crispin Porter + Bogusky crashes Microsoft Discuss 0

It only takes 3x longer than an Apple ad to say absolutely nothing about why you should buy Vista- or believe Microsoft is anything different than the company that has ignored it’s customers for, well, since day one.

Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates meet in a mall at “Shoe Circus” and do exactly what Seinfeld is best known for- talk about nothing. As they walk out of the mall, after Bill has flashed his Shoe Circus Clown Club membership card, Seinfeld asks for a sign about the amazing future those geniuses at Microsoft have been dreaming up- just to get Bill to wiggle his ass on camera.

That shot is probably the most honest part of the whole spot: since Microsoft has been showing us their ass for as long as we’ve used their operating system and software. Software that crashes, software that attracts viruses like shit seduces flies, and a user interface that has never been intuitive- making the complex – harder. For the life of me, why does an end user need to know about a “registry?”

When Crispin Porter + Bogusky pitched this campaign- sources said that the winning concept was “Windows, not walls.” Somewhere along the line, they seem to have gotten sidetracked.

The Mojave Experiment was an attempt to do a “Pepsi Challenge” for Vista- only it was Vista in both cups. The website can’t be watched on a Mac- so forget about getting those customers back- and, it showcases one of the key problems Microsoft refuses to face: computing standards make for a better computing experience. From the earliest days of Mac vs PC it’s been the fundamental unique selling proposition that makes Mac’s the brand that can charge a premium and generate loyalty- once you learned how to do something in one program, it worked for all of them. Microsoft keeps thinking that the reasons users don’t like their software is because users are stupid- instead of realizing it was never about the software- it was about what you as a user, could accomplish with the software.

CP+B may have finally met a challenge that great ads can’t solve. This was only the first salvo. However, if Apple decides to release their OS X operating system to run on all Intel based PC’s for $249 (about double what they charge to run it on a Mac) Microsoft’s stock will fall faster than GM’s when gas hits $5 a gallon (as if it could fall much more).

In the end, we still come down to the old adage: “It’s not creative if it doesn’t sell.”

“Hi, I’m a Mac” from Chiat/Day has doubled market share for Apple in the last 2 years, while Apple is still charging a premium on their hardware. Go look at the comments on the YouTube spot above- and repeat after me: “I’m a PC and I’m leaving the building.”

Part II: a 4.5 minute showing Bill and Jerry trying to hang out with the “little people”- now Bill is doing the robot. Smacks of desperation.

Somewhere there has to be a strategy?

Apple fails truth in advertising 101 Discuss 2 Comments

Apple iPhone 3G, twice as fast, half the price

Apple announced the 3G iPhone on Monday, June 9 2008. I imagine the lawsuits will start by today, but, don’t quote me on it. If they don’t, they should- and Apple should be ashamed.

This isn’t the first iPhone price debacle, the first generation iPhone started out at $599, only to have the price cut by $200 less than 60 days after launch. Apple made it up (sort of) to early adopters by granting them a $100 credit at the Apple store.

This time, the part that’s missing from the small print is that Apple’s US partner in this, ATT, is going to require all 3G iPhone buyers to sign up for a new 2 year contract that is $10 more a month for the data plan that you have to have with the iPhone if you want to use all of its features. That works out to $240 extra- $40 more than you’d pay for the original iPhone with service. This iPhone might be $199 instead of $399, but, you will pay more monthly.

It’s not clear if ATT is offering the old “EDGE” or 2.5G price option to new 3G buyers or not. As a user of the original iPhone, I can tell you this:

ATT’s idea of “Internet access” via the “EDGE” network- is an absolute farce- my old carrier, Sprint- not only had faster access, but less dropped calls, and better coverage. Also, the visual voice mail on the phone only works when you have internet access- which means without EDGE or a WiFi connection- you can’t reliably easily retrieve your voice mail.

Apple still has other issues in this price change. The old iPhone hasn’t been readily available for months. If your 2.5G iPhone (still under warranty) has an accident (like mine did on Saturday night- slipping out of the holster into a bucket of ice water)- Apple is still charging $249 for a refurb, with no additional warranty:

Apple iPhone accident repair plan
This price- $249 to replace a phone that will soon be obsolete- and that can be purchased new on July 11 for $199 makes no sense. Apple’s pricing guru’s are asleep at the wheel on this.

It’s also sending a message to Apple’s customers that Apple really doesn’t care about taking care of it’s best customers- the early adopters.

Besides the “half the price” being a lie, Apple and ATT still haven’t learned the number one truth of the internet enabled consumer: pricing games are over; “There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.” This was thesis 12 of the “Cluetrain Manifesto” published in 1999.

Subsidizing prices with subscription plans isn’t a viable way to build in hidden costs. Apple and ATT will have to learn this the hard way, which is really too bad, since they are probably reintroducing the greatest product in history- with features that will change the perception of what a phone can do as a computing platform- again.

Crispin wins Microsoft account: Now the real test begins Discuss 3 Comments

Crispin Porter + Bogusky has a track record of delivering creative that gets attention. However, the old adage is nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising may be the beginning of the end for Microsoft.

Vista has been a flop from day one. It was supposed to be an improvement over Windows XP, yet, people are still buying PC’s with the old operating system. That should be the first indication that Microsoft is in trouble. No one would want to buy the last version of Apple’s OS X.

And here lies the true test: will Crispin Porter + Bogusky chuck all their Mac’s and do the work on PC’s running Vista to prove that the machine is capable? (boot camp, parallels etc. don’t count). David Ogilvy was a firm believer in never advertising anything you didn’t use personally. My guess is they won’t.

Here are the details from AdAge:

Crispin Wins Microsoft’s Consumer-Products Effort – Advertising Age – Agency News
Microsoft Corp. today handed MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter & Bogusky a major consumer assignment promoting its Windows products to break later this year.
Microsoft has chosen Crispin Porter & Bogusky as their creative partner for an upcoming consumer marketing campaign.

Spending on the account was undisclosed, but could be as high as $300 million or more, according to executives familiar with the assignment. Microsoft spent almost $1 billion on measured and unmeasured marketing in the U.S. alone for 2006, according to the most recent Advertising Age DataCenter analysis….

“After a thorough review of several creative and strategic advertising agencies, Microsoft has selected Crispin Porter & Bogusky as our creative partner for an upcoming consumer marketing campaign,” read a statement from Microsoft. “Crispin was chosen based on their strategic approach, the strength of their creative ideas and the passionate and diverse team of people at the agency.”…

Although details of the new assignment have not been spelled out, Rob Enderle, principal analyst, the Enderle Group, San Jose, Calif., said it comes at a time when Microsoft is about to release a fix for the poorly received Vista, a so-called Service Pack 1…

“Microsoft lacks marketing skills,” Mr. Enderle said. “They can bring creative on board, but if it is not directed, you wind up with creative junk,” he said. “It’s clear to me this is not just an agency problem.”

Bruised by Apple
Microsoft has a problem with the continued embarrassment caused by Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ad campaign, Mr. Enderle said. “It is unprecedented in this industry — and most — where one company makes fun of a competitor for a long period of time successfully,” he said. The last time that happened was when carmaker Isuzu poked fun of Porsche. But never did Porsche’s quality come into question, only that Isuzu presented a better deal, he said.

“This one does far more damage. It does go in and disparage the Microsoft operating system pretty solidly,” he said.

When Apple launched the “Get a Mac” campaign by TBWA/Chiat Day we compared it to the Crispin Porter + Bogusky “Manthem” spot for Burger King: Is your agency ego in line with your budget?

This may be Crispin’s opportunity to prove they still have the ability to come up with a big idea that can carry through for a brand- that cuts through the clutter. The last memorable effort that worked was the “Let’s Motor” for BMW mini, a brand they abandoned when they took on VW. Microsoft may be the client that frees them from keeping VW, where their champion CMO left them and rumors of their dismissal have been circulated.

But, the first step is switch the shops to Vista on PC’s and see how much work they can do.

Older »