The tech industry (and society, for that matter) has lost a true innovator with the passing of Steve Jobs earlier this month. But he wasn’t just an innovator to the computer, music, communication, and animated film industry. He also had a hand in changing the face of advertising, starting with the hit 1984 Super Bowl commercial. Here are some interesting facts you might not know…
Thanks to a recent article by the Washington Times, we’ve discovered a few interesting facts about how that commercial came into being.
What everyone remembers about the 1984 Super Bowl was not so much the football game, but the amazing ad from Apple.
From then on, the Super Bowl became an event where advertisers try to outdo each other every year. Audiences have even created a sport from judging commercials in an Oscar-party-like fashion.
The ad itself was almost squashed by Apple’s board of directors in 1983 with one chairman saying, “Can I get a motion to fire the ad agency?” The board also initially refused to pay for the commercial. But Steve Wozniak, retired co-founder of Apple, thought the commercial was so good and so important to Apple’s future that he offered to pay for much of it himself. Luckily, the board came through and ultimately left the decision to Jobs and the agency.
Jobs had at first even questioned his ad agency’s decision to buy airtime during the Super Bowl. But he later took the agency’s advice and authorized it to go ahead. Nielson’s ratings estimated that the commercial reached 46.4 percent of the households in America. Apple actually made up the entire cost of the ad in its first day of Macintosh sales!
When Jobs left Apple about a year later, the original ad agency was fired, and Apple’s marketing strategy was refocused on more conventional ads — features, benefits and price instead of brand image. Maybe it was because of this new, lackluster marketing strategy, that Apple’s profits slumped in the mid-90s.
When Jobs finally returned to Apple in 1996, he rehired his old ad agency and changed the marketing focus again with the popular “Think Different” campaign (which ran for several years) and the iPod dancing silhouettes.
There’s a lot we can learn from Steve Jobs. One thing he taught us is that we should strive to be innovators — in business and in life; and to refrain from following the crowd or copying everything our competitors do.