When Steve Jobs made his dramatic return to Apple in 1997 (after having been fired in 1985), one of his top priorities was reinvigorating not just the company's products, but the brand's image.
In Apple's early days, it was known for unconventional marketing. In 1984, the company created one of the best known TV commercials ever with its ad for the Macintosh, inspired by George Orwell's book "1984," which showed a heroine smashing a screen with "Big Brother."
But Apple's brand had become unfocused in his decade long absence, Jobs said in a 1997 talk given to employees.
"The Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect," Jobs said. "We need to bring it back."
For inspiration, he turned to Nike.
"The best example of all, and one of the greatest jobs of marketing the universe has ever seen is Nike," Jobs explained. "Remember, Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, they don't ever talk about their products. They don't ever tell you about their air soles and why they're better than Reebok's air soles. What does Nike do? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics. That's who they are, that's what they are about."
He wanted to do the same for Apple's brand. "The way to do that is not to talk about speeds and feeds. It's not to talk about MIPS and megahertz, it's not to talk about why we're better than Windows," Jobs said.
Jobs went on in the talk to announce Apple's newest ad campaign, which used the tagline "Think Different," and featured pictures of legendary thinkers like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King and John Lennon. The ads didn't describe Apple computers' specifications or functions, but instead gave a sense of the company's mission.