The Best, Most Inspiring Commercial Ever Made

by May 13, 2015Entrepreneurship - Grit, Marketing

My The Success Entrepreneur undergrad class always begins with the one minute The Crazy Ones commercial from Apple. I never tire of it. It still gives me goosebumps.

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In this version Steve Jobs narrates (Richard Dreyfuss did the voice-over for the actual commercial).

The Crazy Ones

The Apple “Think Different” video features black-and-white footage of 17 iconic 20th century personalities. In order of appearance they are: Albert EinsteinBob DylanMartin Luther King, Jr.Richard BransonJohn Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster FullerThomas EdisonMuhammad AliTed TurnerMaria CallasMahatma GandhiAmelia EarhartAlfred HitchcockMartha GrahamJim Henson (with Kermit the Frog),Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

The transcript reads:

Here’s To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. 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 push the human race forward. And while some may 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!

The Effect on the Class

I love how the video affects the students. When it ends, there is a special silence of wonder and possibility. It opens up everyone’s imagination.

I then play it a second time asking the class to jot down everyone they recognize. We then discuss how each of the artists, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, leaders, and pioneers changed the world.

The video creates the ground for the class. Each of these great and “crazy” ones went deep within themselves for their inspiration. Each had the courage to trust themselves and their instincts, even though their thinking and behavior often went against the norm. They went inward and then outward to “push the human race forward.”

The Back Story

Here are two versions of the back story.

Steve Jobs in a PBS interview said, “Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you … The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you’ll never be the same again.”

In this 16 minute video, in shorts, just a few weeks after his 1997 return to Apple, Steve Jobs speaks to Apple executives and managers about planned pipeline, product, and distribution changes. In doing so, Jobs inspiringly announces Apple’s “Think Different” campaign launched by The Crazy Ones commercial.

For further background, fans of AMC’s Mad Men will find fascinating Rob Siltanen’s version of how the commercial got made. Siltanen was the creative director and managing partner of the TBWA/Chiat/Day, the ad agency that created the commercial. Siltanen say Jobs initially and quite forcefully rejected the idea.

We’re All Crazy

I believe we’re all crazy. That is, we all “think different.” We all have something to offer to push the human race forward. The way may be dramatic. It may be subtle. It may appear like conformity making the status quo better, or it may appear rebellious with new ways at doing things. It may even be destructive.

As entrepreneurs we must see things simply, objectively, and clearly and have the courage to move things forward according to our inner vision.


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