Apple's ‘Think Different’ ad creator says its new commercial uses ‘oldest trick in advertising book’

Lucy Handley; special to CNBC.com

An Apple ad launch often creates a bit of a fanfare, and its latest, "Bulbs," for the new MacBook Pro, has already clocked up more than 1.7 million views on YouTube since its launch on November 17.

The ad features a series of light bulbs bursting, in a montage showing inventions and discoveries such as the steam engine, gravity, binoculars, the typewriter and even a loo roll.

One of its biggest fans is Ken Segall, who joined agency Chiat Day as creative director back in 1997 and is credited with writing Apple's "Think Different" brand campaign the same year. It was also around the same time that Steve Jobs came back to the tech company and the two worked together as client and creative shop until 2000.

Writing on his blog this week, Segall recognized some similarities with "Think Different," which shows a montage of ground-breaking people – rather than inventions – such as Martin Luther King, Maria Callas and Mahatma Gandi, calling the new MacBook Pro ad "one of the greatest commercials Apple has ever made."

Let's take a look at the two ads.

Are they really so similar? Segall calls the use of the montage in "Bulbs" as "the oldest trick in the advertising book," but hails the familiar creative device as one which is "so artfully constructed, and so intensely energetic from the start, it literally embodies the ad's concept. That being: ideas have tremendous power."

The major difference between the two is that "Think Different" was all about positioning Apple as a seminal brand, whereas "Bulbs" is ultimately a product ad, a gripe of Segall's. But he concedes: "This is the new century version of 'Think Different,' and I very much love it."

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