The Evolution of Apple Ads - How Apple Ads Have Evolved Over the Years?

Kinnary Nensee Kinnary Nensee
Aug 2, 2022 6 min read
The Evolution of Apple Ads - How Apple Ads Have Evolved Over the Years?

Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world and has a revenue of billion of dollars. The logo of the half-bitten apple has become synonymous with innovation, progress, exploration and growth.

Steve Jobs once said – “We are here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”.  

About Apple
Evolution of Apple Ads
What is Apple’s Message?

About Apple

Initially founded as Apple Computer Company on April 1, 1976 by the genius who was Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, its primary focus was to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer.  Changed to Apple Computer, Inc. in 1977, the company’s next computer, Apple II was a runaway success and became their best seller.  

By 1985 the company had developed the original Macintosh and had seen considerable success.  But the high cost of its products and internal power struggles created a rift causing Wozniak and Steve Jobs to leave the company.  They went their separate ways as Wozniak pursued other ventures and Steve Jobs founded the company NeXT.

The 1990s was the decade when computers were gaining popularity and many other players were entering into the market including Microsoft.  Apple began losing its considerable market share to the low priced operating system of Microsoft called Microsoft Windows.  

In 1997, weeks away from bankruptcy, struggling and desperate, Apple bought Steve Jobs company NeXT to resolve Apple’s unsuccessful operating system strategy.  The main objective was to entice Steve Jobs back to the Company.  

The decision proved wise as over the next decade, Jobs displayed his brilliance by guiding the company back to profitability through a number of tactics including launching products like the iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone.  

As the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs expanded the company by opening Apple Store retail chain and acquiring numerous companies to broaden its product portfolio. He also designed some of the most memorable advertising campaigns for the company.  In the year 2011, Steve Jobs resigned from Apple and was succeeded by Tim Cook.

Today, Apple Inc., is one of the Top Five American Information Technology companies alongside Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft.  It specializes in consumer electronics, software and online services and is based out of Cupertino, California, United States.  

Evolution of Apple Ads

Apple’s efforts towards effective advertising and marketing for its products has been highly recognised over the last four decades.  Its product advertisements have catchy tunes and eye-popping graphics.

From print ads to television commercials, Apple ads have garnered attention of its viewers through tears, laughter or even eye-rolling with the thought –“What are they thinking”. Over the years, the advertisements have evolved but the attraction of Apple advertisements sustains.

1970s - The first Decade

Apple 1

Apple 1 Campaign
Apple 1 Campaign

The very first Apple campaign came out in 1976. It was for their first computer – Apple I. It looked similar to a flyer and was extremely text-heavy with very little imagery. The advertisement was a testament to the concept of getting ‘money’s worth’. It covered every inch of available space.

The Garden of Eden

Apple 'The Garden of Eden' Campaign
Apple 'The Garden of Eden' Campaign

This one was a laugh riot. The imagery showed a naked man holding a computer called ‘The Garden of Eden’. It was an announcement of a competition – Tell the company what you do with your Apple in a thousand words or less !! The winner was to win a trip for two to Hawaii. It has to be the worst advertisement in Apple’s history.

1980s - The Second Decade

Apple Edison, Franklin and Ford Campaign

Apple Campaign in 1981
Apple Campaign in 1981

In 1981, Apple was almost 5 years old and had not done much to improve the quality of its earlier ads. The first advertisement of the decade was similar to the earlier one, being text-heavy with little or no imagery. The attempt was to convince people that they needed an Apple computer. Acclaimed inventors like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Ben Franklin were used for these campaigns.

Apple Super Bowl Campaign

1984 saw the infamous Super Bowl advertisement campaign of Apple. The campaign was for a product launch and while it was successful, it lacked the Apple flair that we witness today.

1990s – The Third Decade

Think Different Campaign

This was the decade when the shift in the Apple campaigns was first noticed.  It came first with the ‘Think Different’ campaign which was the brainchild of Steve Jobs. The product launch campaign of the iMac featured famous personalities of the day and witnessed tremendous success. This was also the time when advertising campaigns Apple shifted away from being text-heavy to artistic and more product-focused. ‘Think Different’ also became the new slogan for Apple.

Apple iBooks Campaign

This campaign also added vibrant colours to Apple’s advertisements. This was because Apple brought bright colours to its line of computers and introduced a new line of laptops – the infamous iBooks. These colours added vibrancy and a fun element to the campaign and saw success among the younger generation.

2000s – The Fourth Decade

Apple First iPod Campaign

2005 was the year when Apple first used the iPod silhouette ads, showing a silhouette dancing to the music from the iPod. The background in the campaign was rich with vibrant and bright colour making it very eye-catching. It was an advertisement that went on to become iconic and, ironically, the first one to enter that realm

Mac vs. PC Campaign

It was in 2006 that Apple came out with the Mac vs. PC campaign that starred John Hodgman and Justin Long. Always shot on a white background these commercials were engaging and humorous. It was also Apple’s longest-running campaign – for three consecutive years.  

Apple Change Campaign

Just before the Grammy Awards of 2016, Apple came out with a new ad campaign that actually served a dual purpose. Titled ‘Change’ and with a frantic pace, it highlighted the ease of music recording on the iPad.

The advertisement was also entirely filmed on the iPad. This was a subtle demonstration by Apple of the advancement of their technology. It paid tribute to their genius of using their own product to create every aspect of a project – from writing, and recording music to actually filming.

Apple 911 Campaign

With the advent of the Apple iWatch, the company came forth with a few attractive campaigns. Its latest one featuring the latest version of the Apple iWatch is extremely relevant given the circumstances of today’s world.

It focuses on the newest prowess of the iWatch. The smartwatch is capable of calling emergency services in case such a situation arises. This is Apple’s way of reiterating that the product can save lives. The Verge calls it Apple’s “brilliantly, gruesomely captured” television ad. The advertisement campaign is titled ‘911’.

What is Apple’s Message?

Apple’s marketing is built on the simplicity of message and visuals. Most of their advertisement campaigns are free of pricing, feature lists or special effects.

What the company concentrated on was building a unique and exceptional product line and allowing the product to speak for itself. Apple has never engaged in a price war for selling its products. The company does not compete on price, because, frankly, it doesn’t have to.

Its effective marketing technique has become a benchmark for other companies who aim to achieve the same level of global popularity, revenue growth and sustaining prowess.

Conclusion

Apple has become the first publicly traded company in the US to be valued at over USD 1 trillion in 2018, USD 2 trillion in 2020 and recently USD 3 trillion in January of 2022. It is ranked as one of the world’s most valuable brands and enjoys a large following and brand loyalty.

Apple shows no signs of slowing down and, in fact, is busily engaged in developing products that are futuristic and display technological brilliance. We have a lot to look forward to when it comes to Apple, its products and its brilliant marketing gimmicks.

FAQs

What is the advertising strategy of Apple?

Apple has a simplistic way of approach, minimal packing design, and beautiful phone design which makes it stand out from its competitors

What was Apple's first slogan?

"Think Different" was the first slogan of Apple.

Why was Apple Get a Mac campaign successful?

Apple's 'Get a Mac' campaign was successful because it was simple and funny. Also, it was one of the longest-running commercials for Apple.

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