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Iconic Apple Commercials

The company’s advertising is often as memorable as its products

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The company's advertising is often as memorable as its products

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Apple: “Think Different”

In 1997, Apple launched the "Think Different" campaign with a commercial that featured black-and-white footage of 17 iconic 20th century figures, including people like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Dylan and Jim Henson (alongside Kermit the Frog). The campaign emerged out of Steve Jobs' return as CEO of the company, and in many ways, represented the rebirth of Apple as we know it today.

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iPod: The First Commercial

The first iPod was released on November 10th, 2001, and its commerical was different than those that followed. Instead of the technicolor silohuette-style dancing made famous by later iPod clips, the original campaign simply showed a dude jammin' with his iBook, uploading a couple of songs with the click of a button, and then continuing his head bobbin' on his way out the door to the tune of "Take California" by the Propellerheads.

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Power Mac G3: “Toasting the Pentium II”

Apple released the Power Mac G3 in 1998, and with its release, the company went straight after Intel's highly-touted Pentium II processor. The advertisement featured a direct attack at Intel's "spaceman" mascot by, well, lighting a spaceman on fire and leaving him, as Apple said, "toasted."

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iPod and iTunes: Featuring the Ting Tings

In what would become the most recognizable style of iPod commercial, Apple released the first multi-colored, dancing silhouette ads that featured crazy-catchy songs from new and emerging artists. This one, soundtracked with "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by the Ting-Tings, was one that instantly stuck in your head. It also captured everything that the iPod had become–a completely personal musical experience.

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iPod Nano: Featuring Feist

Apple launched a new version of the iPod Nano in 2007 and at the same time turned Leslie Feist into a household name. Her catchy track "1234" quickly found itself in everyone's head, becoming the ultimate song to hum as you walked down the street (with your iPod). Looking back, the commercial's impact on Feist became a metaphor for Apple's larger influence on the way our culture consumed entertainment.

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Macbook Air: In an Envelope

Hey, look: A computer that fits into an envelope. That's basically all this commercial from 2008 showed us (featuring the lovely track "New Soul" by Yael Naim), but leave it to Apple to reveal its new designs in the most clever way. Everyone knows the size of a manila envelope, so people could immediately relate to how small and innovative the MacBook Air was. Smart, simple and typically Apple.

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iPod and iTunes: Featuring U2

Apple again showed its influence when one of the biggest bands in the world teamed with the company to create a silhouette commercial with their 2004 single "Vertigo." But the partnership didn't end there. U2 and Apple released a special edition, red and black U2 iPod, as well as their full digital music catalog, in advance of the band's world tour. Apple had not only created the ultimate music listening device, but the company was able to get artists to support it.

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“Mac vs. PC”

Apple has worked hard to maintain its image as a creative, forward-thinking company. One factor in shaping that image was the "Mac vs. PC" advertising campaign that ran from 2006 to 2009. The commercials featured actor Justin Long as the skinny-jeaned, hip "Mac," while comedian John Hodgeman portrayed the nerdy, old-fashioned "PC." The message was simple: You're not cool unless you're a Mac person.

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iPhone: “Hello” Montage

When Apple finally announced the iPhone in 2007, the anticipation had built to a boiling point. Bloggers had created their own ideal versions of the iPhone, and each Apple addict had ideas of what the iPhone should be. Apple had to make a dramatic entrance to the field. And what better way than a 30-second montage of the best pop culture "hello" moments of the past 50 years? Hello, indeed.

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iPhone 3G: “There’s an App for That”

One of the tactics Apple used to make a statement was straight out of Advertising 101: a memorable slogan. "There's an app for that" turned into a cultural catch-phrase in 2009. Any problem–no matter how inane or absurd–could be solved by an iPhone application. Need directions? Check. How about a new restaurant? No problem. A solution to world hunger? Oh yeah, there's an app for that.

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iPhone 4: “Facetime”

What separates your standard-issue cell phone from an iPhone? Apple isn't afraid to tell you. In this iPhone commercial from 2010, "what makes an iPhone, an iPhone" is Facetime, the iPhone's solution to video chat. But with Apple aplomb, the company took an idea that already existed and rebranded it as their own, by not just doing it, but by doing it with style.