Apple – the classic strapline: A case study.
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What makes great strapline
Apple’s advertising slogan, ‘Think Different’ was created bythe advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day that also coined Adidas’ slogan ‘Impossible is Nothing’, hence the similarity of the two phrases looking at first glance to be grammatically incorrect. The ‘Think Different’ advertising campaign debuted in 1997, one year after Steve Jobs had returned to Apple.
The initial campaign included a TV commercial that featured footage of icons of the 20th century, such as Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, John Lennon and Martin Luther King, among many others, and the following words written by Rob Siltanen and narrated by Jobs himself:
‘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… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but 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 ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.’
Allen Olivo, Apple’s senior director for worldwide marketing communications described the campaign as: ‘… ads are for people who don’t care what the computer does, but care about what they can do with the computer.’
One reason that the slogan was so memorable was the slightly irritating and grammatically puzzling formulation of the phrase, ‘Think Different’, which was criticised as incorrect by the ‘grammar police’ soon after its publication. The critics argued that the verb ‘think’ should not have been followed by the adjective ‘different’ but by the adverb ‘differently’, and so ‘Think Differently’ would have been the grammatically correct formulation. Nevertheless, the criticism couldn’t stop the positive development of the slogan and the outstandingly positive receptions it received.
The slogan and subsequent campaign were a turning point for the company as a whole and it became a cult – or even a lifestyle – to think differently from the vast majority who were using Microsoft’s products. With its slogan, Steve Jobs established a ‘counter-culture’ image of Apple and with it came the re-emergence of the company as the key player in the computer and ‘tech-lifestyle’ industry.