Lee Clow, known for Apple’s ‘1984’ and ‘Think Different’ campaign, retires at 75

“Lee Clow, whose ads helped put Apple Inc. on the map, is retiring from the agency he joined five decades ago, he announced on Thursday,” Alexandra Bruell reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Clow, 75, joined Chiat/Day — now TBWA\Chiat\Day and part of Omnicom Group Inc. — around 45 years ago as an art director. He worked closely with Apple for more than 30 of those years. Over time, he built a relationship with former Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and helped create the dystopian ‘1984’ Super Bowl commercial that launched the Macintosh computer, as well as the ‘Think Different’ campaign in 1997,” Bruell reports. “The “1984” ad is credited with helping transform the Super Bowl into an advertising showcase where marketers compete to produce glitzy, high-profile spots.”

“Mr. Clow is chairman and founder of Omnicom’s TBWA\Media Arts Lab, which was created in 2006 to service Apple as its only client,” Bruell reports. “‘During his long partnership with Steve and Apple, Lee told powerful visual stories that elevated new technologies with the passion, creativity and ingenuity that define our own humanity,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. ‘He helped Apple carry itself through times of challenge, and his work inspired audiences to look beyond the horizon as an exciting future came into view.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Legend.

The real story behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign – December 15, 2011
TBWA/Media Arts Lab’s Lee Clow hands over Apple Inc. ad account reins to Duncan Milner – October 30, 2009
Apple’s ‘1984’ commercial named best Super Bowl ad ever – February 1, 2007


  1. To be fair, “Think Different” as a concept was Job’s own vision, documented on video from way before the campaign.

    This, of course, does not dimish the excellent execution made done by Clow.

  2. By contrast, now Apple’s commercials too often depend on illustrating technical capabilities — Kind of Microsoftian — rather than appealing to people’s higher emotions. That they are super slick does not hide the difference. Look at the 1984: It’s not that slick, no synthesizer-made repetitive sounds, nothing like current “millennial whoops”, no overproduced music, but it had a gripping story. The story line, baby, the storyline is key to delighting people. No more. Now the want of a product is produced by a manufactured consent.

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