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TBWA chairman Lee Clow remembers Steve Jobs at conference

updated 12:02 am EDT, Sat June 8, 2013

Talk includes insight on naming Apple, 'Think Different,' more

At a recent entrepreneurial summit known as the PTTOW! conference, TBWA Global Director and Chairman Lee Clow -- an advertising legend in part due to his long history behind many of the iconic ads for Apple -- gave a short talk on his memories of Steve Jobs and the 30-year relationship that they shared. In a video of the talk (seen below), Clow describes meeting Jobs in his mid-twenties; shares Jobs' passion for "democratizing" computer technology to consumers; adds his belief on how Jobs arrived at the "Apple" brand name, and more.

Clow says that while there are many stories about how Jobs hit upon the name "Apple" for his fledging computer company, Clow believes that Jobs was already aware of and influenced by the co-founder of what is now Sony, who changed the name of the company from "Tokyo Tsoshiu Kogyo KK" to "Sony" in order for it to be pronounced easily in any language. Sony's founder said the name was chosen because it sounds "sunny," and that Jobs had perhaps chosen -- in those pre-computer, pre-Internet days -- a name that people wouldn't be threatened or challenged by, a name that was "trusted" and "friendly" and well-known, in contrast to the untested, untried and alien products the company would offer.

Clow told the audience that Jobs was very influenced by the concept of brands, once telling the veteran adman that "everything a company does is a message" about the brand, which is why it was important to have a consistent set of both ads and actions. Clow finished up his talk with two short videos documenting his time with Jobs, both of which are edited out of the YouTube version of the presentation. The first was likely to have been a photo montage of the two men, while the latter was described as being the now-widely-seen version of the 1997 Apple commercial "The Crazy Ones" using Jobs' voice rather than Richard Dreyfuss, the actor who's voice was eventually used on the aired version of the ad.

The spot, Clow said, was created when Steve returned to Apple to reiterate and "celebrate" the company's values, but also (he added candidly) to "buy time" until Jobs and the engineers could develop the new products that saved the company from bankruptcy and set the path for Apple which has led it to be the most valuable company in the world, the most influential tech giant and the most consistent home of industry-changing or redefining products in the electronics industry.

Jobs ultimately told Clow that they should not use the version with Jobs' voice on it, because he didn't want the public to think the ad -- which was a manifesto of what Apple was (and still is) striving for, what it embraces and what the company stands for -- was about Jobs, but rather that it represented everyone who worked there. Clow, who was responsible for dozens of memorable Apple ads over the years, from the "1984" Mac announcement to the iPod "silohuette" series and more, said that the "Think Different" ad and campaign really stayed with him. The Jobs version of the ad is seen below.

by MacNN Staff



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