The new Apple TV ads are a clever reference to Apple history

You’ve probably seen some of the ads for the new Apple TV  —  whether on billboards or TV —  all of which feature some variation on this design:

Not only is this a colourful, eye-catching play on the famous SMPTE “colour bars” pattern used to calibrate TVs since the 1970’s  — it’s also a clever callback to Apple history.

From 1977 all the way to 1999, Apple’s logo was a little more colourful than the one we’re familiar with today. Here’s the old logo:

Now, compare those colours above to the Apple TV promo design (Hint: They’re exactly the same).

It’s a callback to an important era in Apple’s early history. For a long time, the so-called “Six Colours” logo design was an important part of Apple’s culture.

Then, back in the early nineties, Apple was in bad shape, bleeding money, share value, and leadership.

Steve Jobs once said that when he came back to Apple in 1997, he once said that he was shocked that any employee was still there. But when he asked these engineers why they stuck with Apple, even through the hard times, they all had the same answer: “Because I bleed in six colours.” 

You can watch Jobs discuss that time of Apple’s history here:

It was a phrase adopted by diehard Apple fans, too. In fact, it’s where the excellent Apple blog Six Colours got its name. 

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen them, the new Apple TV commercials use this updated six colours design to lead into short showcases for what the Apple TV can do, including guest appearances by The Muppets and hit game Crossy Road. 

You can watch all of Apple’s new Apple TV ads below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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