Apple announced Wednesday that its co-founder, two-time CEO and face of the company, Steve Jobs, had passed away after a seven-year struggle with pancreatic cancer.
To detail each of Jobs’ game-changing creations would prove too lengthy for a single blog post. Suffice it to say that a number of articles, books and even a movie have already delved into the life of the college dropout who went on to become one of the most successful and recognizable tech whizzes of our time. The first authorized Jobs biography will hit shelves later this month, giving both the fanatics and the Mac-curious more to digest.
While a great deal of attention has been paid to the awesome (and I mean “awesome” in the truest sense of the word) gadgets conceived and created by Jobs, little has been said about his adeptness on the commercial side. Business 2.0 once called Jobs “easily the greatest marketer since P.T. Barnum.” Indeed his charisma, stage presence and signature style (black turtleneck and jeans) secured him the status as Apple’s most popular MC. Although his role as marketer and showman was secondary to the innovator mantle, it still supersedes other CEOs and digital gurus.
To honor Jobs, here’s a look back at some of his most memorable marketing moments:
1. “1984” Macintosh Ad, 1984: Directed by Ridley Scott, aired once during the Super bowl and named best commercial of the decade by Advertising Age. ‘Nuff said.
2. “Knick Knack,” 1989: The first animated feature created by Pixar, which Jobs purchased from LucasFilm and took to new heights. While not a reflection of his marketing prowess, the streamlined cinematography seemed to channel the crisp iMac ads that would run nearly a decade later.
3. “Think Different,” 1997: While Jobs might not have created the iconic slogan, family, friends and followers consider him the embodiment of the phrase.
4. Silhouette iPod ads, 2001: Watching those dark figures rock out against candy-colored backgrounds gave you the irresistible urge to buy an iPod and join their legions.
5. “Get a Mac” campaign, 2006 to 2009: Probably the funniest Apple ad series of all time. Laidback Mac (Justin Long) always outshined his hopelessly flawed counterpart, PC (John Hodgman).
6. “New Soul” MacBook Air commercial, 2008: Yael Naim’s feathery voice provided a nice backdrop to the introduction of the first laptop to fit in a manila folder. Everyone was humming the tune throughout the year.
7. iPad ads, 2010: Like its iPhone predecessor, the iPad commercials highlight a user-friendly interface and diverse functionality. A neutral voiceover and soft piano keys add a simplified touch.
Farewell, Steve Jobs. Thanks for the gizmos, the tech revoultion and the vision.
— Nicole Duncan
A few weeks ago Specific Media bought MySpace from News Corp. for $35 million— roughly 10 percent of what Rupert Murdoch’s media giant had paid for the networking site in 2005. Given that MySpace has become a ghost of its former glory, it seems unlikely that any divine intervention ( even in the form of Justin Timberlake) will keep it from slipping further into obscurity.
While the odds aren’t necessarily in MySpace’s favor, a number of companies have escaped these slumps and gone on to exceed all past feats. Here’s a list of our favorite comeback kids. Who knows? Maybe MySpace (or Sony?) will join their ranks one day.
The pricey yet personal notebooks were a brand long before they were attached to a particular company. Despite their artistic following (Hemingway and Picasso were fans), the oilcloth books were disappearing until entrepreneur Maria Sebregondi founded Moleskine in the mid-90s. Now Moleskine has extended its line of diaries, notepads and sketchbooks to include city guides and topic journals.
The instant-camera king declared bankruptcy twice— once in 2001 and again in 2008. With digital-bridging products like the Instant Mobile Printer and Lady Gaga as a creative director (divine celebrity intervention!), Polaroid is finding its niche.
While its competitor General Motors was forced to shut down its entire Pontiac division (much to the dismay of my Grand Prix), Ford saw a turnaround in 2009 when it boasted profits without any bailout funds. Rebranding efforts, particularly ones emphasizing energy-efficient models have helped the automaker reshape its reputation. In April, Ford boasted its largest first-quarter profits in more than a decade.
As hard as it might be to remember a time before iPads, iPhones and iPods, the Silicon Valley super-giant went through a slow period in the late ‘80s and the ‘90s when it was largely relegated to computer labs in public schools. Many credit Apple’s return to power (and prominence) to the return of Steve Jobs.
— Nicole Duncan