With all of the attention paid to the Super Bowl commercials, this past Sunday (“Just My Shell” and “Matthew’s Day Off” were two of the well-regarded standouts), I have been thinking about some of the more inspirational commercials of my memory.
Financial advisors who are thinking about the impact of their own marketing efforts, might draw a page out of the Steve Jobs story.
Right at the top of all-time marketing messages, was “Think Different”, the Apple campaign that served notice of Steve Jobs’ return to the company that he co-founded. In 1997, Apple was a far cry from what it is today, and had certainly not yet become the iconic name that it has become. Steve Jobs had recently re-joined Apple as interim CEO, when Apple had acquired NeXT.
Many of you may also recall that, in 1997, Apple was hardly the icon that it has become today. In fact, Apple was really struggling. The board had just ousted Gil Armelio, their CEO, and the company was bleeding cash. Compared to the rarefied levels of today, it’s hard to believe that the stock was bumping along at a 3-year low. ($6 per share!)
Jobs wanted to infuse a dispirited Apple workforce with some of his own strongly-held values and personal beliefs. He turned to Chiat/Day to create the “Think Different” advertising slogan. As part of this campaign, they created this commercial, known as the “Crazy Ones."
What I love about this commercial is how much it embraces Jobs’ personal credo of how ANY one can change the world, as reflected in this 1994 interview:
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Making these comments in 1994, Jobs forecast what was yet to come for him…one of the greatest second acts (or third) in U.S. corporate history.
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