Apple Inc. Advertising Analysis
Millions of customers ignore Apple Computer when they purchase their PCs, but over the years it's been much harder to ignore the company's subversive, catchy advertising. From its groundbreaking Super Bowl spot in 1984 to the iconic "silhouette" iPod ads, the company has developed a knack for keeping its finger on the pulse of what's interesting, quirky and cool.
"The quality of Apple's advertising is consistently above average," said Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York offices of brand consultancy Landor Associates. "And more often than not, it's world class."
Apple's ads are powerful in part because they all reinforce the same branding message. Apple prides itself on appealing to the discerning customer, the person who, as one slogan famously had it, thought differently. And that message--of creativity, counterculture and good taste--is one that Apple has portrayed consistently in its advertising for the past 30 years.
"The tone, the design, the headlines--they all work toward that same message," Adamson says.
But Apple's attempts to associate itself with hip people and to appropriate cultural memes have also been the cause of some testy intellectual-property debates. Footware-maker Lugz threatened the company with legal action after Apple aired an iTunes ad that featured rapper Eminem that was strikingly similar in feel to an ad Lugz had aired several years before.
More recently, Apple has been criticized for the ad it aired in January to announce the switch to Intel (nasdaq: INTC - news - people ) microprocessor chips. That ad, which featured lab-coated scientists supposedly freeing the Intel chip from its PC-bound constraints, appeared to have been an almost shot-for-shot recreation of indie band the Postal Service's music video for "Such Great Heights." Perhaps that's because the same directors shot both the ad and the video.
"Think different…I guess not," wrote...