The notion that Apple is a master of marketing is regarded as an immutable fact of advertising. An article of faith. One of the laws of branding physics.
It was not always so.
The company has put out thousands of ads over the years and not all of them were as stylish and pleasing as the ones you see today for the iPhone and the iPad.
Some of them were real stinkers that Apple would probably like to forget. (That’s Gene Shalit, the face of Apple in 1996, for instance.)
Here they are—many of which are courtesy of MacMothership.com—rotten apples all.
1976: Apple's first ever ad. Note the typo in the very first sentence. And the 'number of the beast' pricing. And the unreadable logo.
1979: Ignore the nudity. Focus on the fact that Apple expects consumers to write a 1,000-word essay.
1982: For sales staff, what could be more exciting than winning the 'grand prize of increased productivity'?
1984: The other '1984' ad—a crushingly embarrassing sales video scored to the theme from 'Flashdance.'
1984: Sure, it was a great ad. But it's also one of the most pretentious, overrated ads the company ever made.
1996: Don't all the kids want to be like Gene Shalit? He is the cheesiest movie critic on earth, after all.
1997: Although the 'Think Different' campaign was pivotal for Apple, many people balked at the use of John Lennon, who died in 1980, to endorse the brand.
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