DaveNet: Tuesday, September 30, 1997; by Dave Winer.

blue ribbon Notes from a Beer-Food-Steve Party at Apple

From a source inside Apple...

Steve J. gave a beer-and-food event at Apple today to celebrate the new Chiat-Day ad campaign. As part of his praise for the new ad and its theme, "Think Different", he read a letter written by the mother of a child that was "different" regarding her child's response to the ad. It was a really lovely letter - brought tears to my eyes. If you can, you should get a copy of the letter and post it. The letter was initially sent to someone at Chiat-Day.

(The food was, notably, all vegan).

Steve said that the feedback on the ad was about 75% favorable. The other 25% of negative reactions to the ad had that "come on, let's show 'em why we kick Microsoft's butt!" flavor. Steve said that back when we DID kick Microsoft (DOS's) butt by about a factor of 100, this was easy to do. Only took 15...30...maybe 60 seconds at the most to convey that message. Now that we only kick Microsoft's butt by a factor of 2 (or thereabouts), this is not a good strategy because it's much harder to convince people of that difference that quickly. Rather, we should adopt the techniques of someone like Nike.

Actually, he started off with the example of MILK. Way back when, the Dairy Association tried to pitch milk (unsuccessfully, and for about a decade) as something that was "good for you". ("By the way, it isn't!", said Steve). Now the Milk Council or whatever it calls itself these days is pitching milk by a campaign centered on the absence of milk. Bringing back that smell we all have of our moms baking cookies. Something we MISS. And it's working!

Then he reminded us of the Nike "just do it" example. "Everyone on the planet" can tell you what and who "Just Do It!" stands for. Contrast that with a company like Kinney shoes, he said. They make shoes. Just like Nike. But how many of us even remember Kinney? Nike has The Message. It's about athletics and success. Not about shoes. We remember that.

He quoted some figures. Apple spends 100 million $ a year on advertising. And it hasn't done us much good, Steve admitted. We'll continue to spend the same amount. Not much more or less. Only we'll spend it better. Because (this is how *I* interpreted his comments, I don't remember them verbatim), our brand is the most - or at least one of the most - valuable things we have going for us now.

Then he read the letter I mentioned earlier.

It was a good - no, great - speech, delivered in a "I may sound like I'm musing but I'm damned sure of what I'm saying" tone.

And the beer did not suck!

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