Meet the man who named ‘iMac’ and wrote Apple’s famous Think Different campaign

“Meet Ken Segall — the man who dreamed up the name ‘iMac’ and wrote the famous Think Different campaign,” Leander Kahney reports for Cult of Mac.

“Segall is a veteran creative director who worked at Apple’s agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, back in the day,” Kahney reports. “‘I’ve put in 14 years working with Steve Jobs on both Apple and NeXT,’ says Segall. ‘I’m the author of the Think Different campaign and the guy who came up with the whole ‘i’ thing, starting with iMac.'”

Kaheny reports, “Segall was still consulting for Apple until a couple of years ago when he started working for Dell. ‘Dell and Apple: It’s night and day,’ Segall says. ‘It’s a transactional world Dell lives in. It’s all about numbers. Everything they say about Apple making products for themselves is true. Apple — it’s about changing the world. For everyone else, it’s about the money.'”

Kahney reports, “In this exclusive interview, Segall talks about working with Steve Jobs, how Jobs initially hated the word ‘iMac,’ and the importance of the Think Different campaign to Apple.”

Read the full interview here.

28 Comments

  1. I have a feeling there are many readers here who would be willing to part with some serious cash in order to find out Steve’s original idea for the name, as well as the other rejected ones…

  2. When I read the words of the original “Think Different” commercial (and print ad), I choke up a bit. Not because I am a Machead, but because the words written by Ken Segall are sheer poetry. There are but a handful of ads that have ever been created that rose to this level.

    At the time, the commercial was viciously criticized. No less than Bob Garfield, the self-important pundit ad critic of Advertising Age magazine sniffed at it. But then, he was the embodiment of a PC. Despite his exalted status as the preeminent ad critic of the industry, he had no vision. Garfield failed to comprehend that this was no mere ad. It was a call to arms. It was a clear statement of what Apple now was, and what the company was to become.

    Great moments are often overlooked. When the original iPod was introduced, for the most part, it was ignored by the media, especially in the computer and consumer electronics trade publications. They failed to see any significance. The ever self-important Commander Taco of slashdot dismissed it as not being as powerful as more clunky devices of the day, and hissed that it only worked on a Mac.

    He, like others, failed to see that it was not a mere product. It was the dawn and re-invention of a new category, and much more. Inauspiciously launched with amazingly little hype, the iPod stands in stark contrast to the early noise surrounding the Zune. And we know what happened next.

    Kudos to Ken Segall. His words still ring true today. While naming a product or writing the words to an ad cannot by themselves determine their destiny (an ad is a promise, but the product must fulfill the promise), his contributions began to redefine Apple in people’s minds.

    Over the course of the succeeding months and years, the Think Different campaign began to make sense to the larger public, and perhaps even the very visionless Bob Garfield. But it took the genius and vision of Steve Jobs, and a dedicated corps of brilliant people at Apple to bring the company back, and build it to the company it is today. THAT is thinking different.

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