Today in 1997, Apple Computer launched the “Think different” marketing campaign. The campaign’s television commercials featured black-and-white footage of 17 iconic 20th century personalities and a free-verse poem read by Richard Dreyfuss:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Wikipedia: “In many ways, the new ad campaign would mark the beginning of Apple’s re-emergence as technical giant.”
The campaign’s slogan, “Think different” was probably a play on the much earlier slogan “THINK,” coined by Thomas J. Watson, Sr., first at NCR and later at IBM. Frederick L. Fuller recounts in his 1938 memoir, My Half Century as an Inventor, how Watson ordered in the winter of 1911 that signs with just one word–THINK–be put all over the NCR factory in Dayton, Ohio.
Fuller: “When later I heard the story of how this slogan came to life…I realized gradually that it represented a fine bit of applied psychology… [at a daily sales meeting Watson said]: “The trouble with all of us is that we don’t THINK enough. We are not paid for working with our feet–we draw salaries for working with our heads. Feet can never compete with brains… thought is the keynote of success in this business and in every other business. Every man on the selling force of this business today would make two dollars where he now only makes one, if he would but THINK along the right line. ‘I didn’t think’ has cost the world millions of dollars.”…
…Today there is no IBM office, service department or other workshop, without the THINK sign… Mr. Watson’s company now publishes Think Magazine, which goes out every month to tens of thousands of thoughtful readers.”
Earlier this year, Google started publishing Think Quarterly, “to prepare you for what happens next.”
One final thought from the creator of the Bear With a Very Little Brain who used to tell himself “think, think, think” whenever he got into trouble: “The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.” He also said: “A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself.”