I’ve been reading Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography of Steve Jobs for the past few weeks. It’s a long book (over 600 pages), but a very interesting one. It gives us precious insights into the mind of a very complex man, his passion for the company he created, and his obsession with beauty and simplicity, which became the essence of Apple products.
One of the most interesting chapters in the book deals with Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997 and his efforts to save the brand. Among other things, Jobs decided to launch a PR campaign to rebrand Apple. For that, he called on Lee Clow, the creative director of the brilliant “1984” TV advert used on the successful launch of the Macintosh in 1984. Jobs wanted the 1997 campaign to focus on the brand, not on the products, and to celebrate the people of Apple (those who made it and those who used it). They were to feel special because they were “different”. The Think Different campaign included the iconic TV ad “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” whose beautiful text is dedicated to those whose creativity and willingness to take risks helped change the world. It was the beginning of Apple’s come back and of the beautiful products it was to make.
There are two versions of the ad: one narrated by Richard Dreyfuss and one narrated by Jobs. Jobs decided to go with Dreyfuss’s because he didn’t want people to think this was about Steve Jobs. It wasn’t. It was all about Apple.
Dreyfuss’s narration may have all the right voice inflections but I prefer Jobs’s because he owned the message. It came straight from his heart. I also think his voice is much more pleasant than Dreyfuss’s. Either way it’s a beautiful ad, with a beautiful and timeless message. Here is Jobs’s rendition.