Apple 'Think Different' ad guru says 'all is not well' with Apple today
So Ken you worked with Apple on some of its most high-profile campaigns and at the time when the company was still very much an underdog.
Tell us how that got started.
How did that relationship with Apple begin?
I got the opportunity to work on Apple in the days of John Sculley and then a few years later when Steve Jobs needed a creative director at his Ad Agency to handle NeXT.
Was a candidate for the job, simply because I had the Apple experience.
I always stressed to people that we didn't know that Apple could possibly succeed in those days.
It was near bankruptcy.
You loved Steve Jobs, had faith in him, all that kind of stuff, but you didn't know.
Like I didn't invest my own money in Apple.
[LAUGH] People ask me why I didn't today, because I could have been quite wealthy.
The whole thing worked out in such an interesting way.
The first thing we did was the Think different campaign.
And we did that really just on faith.
Steve said great are coming.
We didn't know what anything What it's gonna look like, or how it was gonna function.
It was the success of iMac that really, I think, turned all of our heads, because it became the best selling computer in Apple history, really.
You have been credited as the person who came up with the name iMac.
Tell us how that happened.
Had a name in his head for the iMac that made us all shudder when we heard it.
He thought macman would be a good name, and it made us all scratch our heads and say why, really, it's a pretty terrible name.
He just liked it, he couldn't really explain it, but he did what he often did, which was, I challenge you to do something better.
The concept of that first computer was that it was the easy way to the internet.
So i for internet, Mac for Macintosh, seemed rather obvious to me.
So Ken, you're the author of a new book, Think Simple, which is all about simplicity in advertising and in all walks of life really.
Taking Apple today, do you think its managed to maintain that focus on simplicity or have things changed?
I think if you listen to Tim Cook or Johnny Ives today, simplicity is always part of the conversation.
But I think one has to be objective even if you're a fan boy, such as myself All is not totally well in the world of Apple and I don't mean that to be so alarming as a lot of people, you know, feel today.
The values are there but I think there are some issues with the execution, it's a quality control thing I suppose, I think people fall in love with Apple products Because they've been simple and reliable and beautifully designed, all that stuff.
So once you start pulling back on any of those features, you won't be creating the love, and that is essential to Apple's success.
Looking at the tech world today and the way that tech companies are advertising, can you think of any particularly good examples that you've seen of particularly effective campaigns?
Or the opposite, any Particularly bad [UNKNOWN]
It's a tough question because I don't see any tech company that I look at and say, I love everything they do.
There are pieces that they do.
Samsung is a very good example.
When they came out with their anti Apple phone stuff about people waiting in line for the Apple Store, I thought those were actually fabulous And they did to Apple exactly what Apple did to Microsoft and the PC world in their old ads that had the Macs versus the PCs.
But Samsung, although they accomplished that with that campaign, they have done some of the most horrifying ads I've ever seen.
So consistency is a very, very important thing and Apple has been Pretty darn consistent doing high level, good quality advertising.
[UNKNOWN], thank you very much for your time.
My pleasure, thanks.
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