Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” ad campaign was one of the major turning points in the company’s history, a message to the world that Steve Jobs and his innovative vision had returned to Apple after leaving in 1985.
The campaign’s most famous ad, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” was voiced by the actor Richard Dreyfuss, and showed black-and-white footage of transformational figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Mahatma Gandhi as Dreyfuss toasted the rule-breakers and trouble-makers who pushed humanity forward.
A version of the ad voiced by Steve Jobs himself went viral after Jobs passed away in 2011, but it turns out he hated his version while he was alive.
This is an oft-told tale, but in a new interview with Macworld, Ken Segall, then a creative director at Apple’s longtime ad agency Chiat/Day, gives us one more look at it. He said Jobs thought it was a terrible idea for him to voice the commercial because people would think he was an egomaniac.
The team at Chiat/Day was adamant that if Jobs truly believed the ad’s message, written by a Chiat/Day art director, he should read it himself. Jobs begrudgingly agreed to give them one read of the script.
Here’s how Segall described the experience to Macworld:
“Just to give you an idea of what it was like to work with the man, just imagine you’re in this lonely, empty auditorium, his just finished that reading, and the words are just ringing in the air, and then there was a great pause, and he said: ‘That’s it, I’m out of here. This is a horrible idea,’ and he stormed off. It kind of reminds me of Roger Rabbit where you see the cartoon character being so loveable on screen and then the moment the camera stops rolling, he’s got a cigar and he’s cursing at everybody.”
Jobs ultimately got what he wanted, and Dreyfuss voiced the ad that made it to television and helped form the brand’s new identity.
Here’s the Steve Jobs version of the ad:
And here’s the Dreyfuss version:
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