Insights for Destination & Leisure Marketers

Special Retro July 4th Ad: Apple, 1981

old computer ads

With the 4th of July upon us, it only makes sense to look at an ad that relates to the founding of America. This particular ad involving our founding fathers is promoting none other than tech giant, Apple.

When you first glance at the ad, Apple probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, without the instantly-recognizable rainbow logo, you might not even realize what brand it’s promoting. Today, we associate Apple with the sleek, clean, modern look it personifies. But this ad is a reminder that once upon a time — in this case back in the early ’80s — these adjectives weren’t necessarily how you’d describe their advertising.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Copy:

“Jefferson had one of the best minds of 1776, but today you can make better decisions with an Apple,”

(And then below that, in a smaller font:) “Jefferson and decision makers of every century have faced the same challenge: how to explore every option before you implement the final plan. Today you have a solution. The Apple personal computer.”

The Effect of Steve Jobs on Apple Ads

Comparing the decision to declare America’s freedom with the decision to purchase an Apple computer? Maybe a little far-fetched. And pretty cheesy at that. But Apple ads didn’t remain cheesy forever.

Apple produced the incredible 1984 commercial for their new Macintosh computer before a power struggle culminated in Steve Jobs’ removal from the company. Once Jobs left, the creativity of Apple advertising seemed to spiral downward again, with a series of uninspired, typical computer ads. Then when he returned, the 1997 “Think Different” ads emerged and proved to be a turning point for the company. They paved the way for an iMac spot set to a Rolling Stones soundtrack, the dancing ipod silhouettes, and many other groundbreaking ads,

This serves as a reminder that creativity in advertising doesn’t come from the creative department alone. If Apple didn’t have a CEO who was willing to take risks, Apple ads would have simply blended in with all that beige.

As much as we appreciate the ingenuity of Apple, we encourage you to unplug your devices this holiday weekend and enjoy a fun and relaxing July 4th.