How Steve Jobs clarified Apple’s message

January 1983. Apple finish production of their new computer, Lisa.

They launch it with a nine-page ad in the New York Times.

It’s nine pages of geek speak. Nobody outside NASA is interested. Lisa sells just 10,000 units.

Apple 1983 New York Times ad

Fourteen years later, Steve Jobs returns to Apple.

In his first campaign back he reduces nine pages in the New York Times to two words on billboards across America: Think different.

Apple Think Differnt: Moon landing

There would be no computers in the ads. No technical jargon. No noise.

Jobs realised that people don’t buy the best product. They buy the best story. So that’s what he sold:

You see greatness. You want to emulate it. Apple is how you get there.

Steve Jobs storyteller

It’s a simple story. Light on calories. And it stuck.

The campaign ran for 5 years. And is credited for turning Apple’s fortunes around. Think Different is still printed on the back of some Apple computers today.


Credit to the excellent book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller where this example comes from.


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