Steve Jobs TV interview about iMac launch (1998)


Steve Jobs’ first TV interview since he’s back at Apple a year ago. Steve speaks about the original bondi-blue iMac unveiled three months earlier, which is about to hit the stores the next day.

The iMac was the talk of the tech industry with its “out of this world” transparant curvy design and lack of a floppy disk – which seemed to botter a lof o people. We now know that it was the right thing to do. Thank you iMac!

Date: August 14, 1998
Steve was 43 years old.

The iMac Marketing Campaign

During the interview, Steve Jobs mentions some of the ads that were part of the iMac campaign. Apple put a lot of efforts and money behing the launch of the iMac. It was Apple’s last chance to get noticed by the consumers and the media. The result was a simple but highly recognizable ad campaign.

Here are some of the ads from the initial iMac campaign. You’ll notice the cleanliness that is now associated with every Apple ad: A single product, one line of text, a white background and the Apple logo.

I think, therefore iMac (Banner)

i-think-therefore-imac

 

Chic, not Geek (Banner)

iMac ad - Chic not geek

 

Chic, not Geek (Print ad)

iMac ad - Chick not geek

Watch all the TV ads of the iMac original campaign

 

Apple’s betting the company on the iMac campaign

Below is a 1998 SfGate article about the campaign and the bet Apple took.

Apple Computer is putting an extraordinary number of eggs in its iMac basket.

The Cupertino computer-maker’s $100 million iMac advertising budget represents an estimated 15.4 percent of this year’s sales of the chubby, teal-colored desktop. Most companies spend only 2 percent to 2.5 percent of product sales on advertising.

“Whoa,” said advertising executive Alan May, when told of Apple’s expected advertising-to-sales ratio.

Original iMac

Still, the outlay may make sense for Apple, which is struggling to boost its 3.1 percent share of the PC market, down from a high of 9.8 percent in 1988, according to Dataquest.

Apple’s marketing campaign is as important for re-establishing the company’s credibility as it is for selling iMacs.

“It’s really kind of a make-or-break thing for Apple,” said May, media director at Anderson & Lembke, a San Francisco ad agency that specializes in technology. “They’ve got to have a winner, so they’re probably not even worried about the advertising-to-sales ratio.”

About $50 million of the ad budget will be spent in the United States and Canada, with the other half going to Europe, Japan and other international markets, according to Apple.

By contrast, Microsoft spent an estimated $100 million to $200 million worldwide to advertise Windows 95 — probably the biggest product launch ever. It spent a paltry $10 million to promote Windows 98.

Apple won’t discuss specifics about its expected return on the advertising. But Allen Olivo, senior director of worldwide marketing communications, said “the upside revenue potential is absolutely huge” given the tens of millions of potential customers around the globe who will be exposed to the ads.

So what kind of a return will Apple get?

May estimated that the global campaign will generate about 10 billion “impressions,” the number of times consumers are likely to see the ad.

Daniel Kunstler, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities in San Francisco, expects the company to sell 500,000 iMacs this year at $1,299 each, which will generate close to $650 million in revenue.

The $100 million ad campaign would be 15.4 percent of that revenue total.

Kunstler estimates the gross profit margin — before costs such as advertising — at about 20 percent.

Apple won’t disclose the line’s expected net profits, other than to say it expects a net profit this year on the iMac, even with the hefty advertising budget.

iMac Sorry no Being

The foremost goal of the campaign “is to signal that Apple is back in the consumer marketplace with an absolute vengeance,” Olivo said. “We were the first computer marketed to consumers and . . . we’re coming back to claim that stake.”

Olivo noted that companies including IBM, Microsoft and Intel together are spending as much as 10 times more money to promote the rival “Wintel” computer platform.

“So yes, this is a very big launch, but on the other hand, I believe it is a very proportionate response.”

Apple’s primary targets are the 25 million consumers who already own an Apple desktop and other people who have never owned a computer but are looking to buy. Families with children are expected to buy at least half of the iMacs sold and college students will be another big segment, said Olivo.

The first TV spots for the new iMac appeared on ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” last Sunday. In the next few months, advertisements will appear on network and cable television, in consumer magazines such as Newsweek and People, on the radio and on billboards, but not in newspapers or on the World Wide Web.

The primary message of the campaign is that the iMac is simple and easy to use, particularly for surfing the Web. The look of the ads reflects the simplicity message, generally showing one item such as an iMac, a mouse or an outlet against a pure white backdrop.

The ads are designed to go hand in hand with the company’s Think Different branding campaign, which launched last fall. Those ads, which feature black and white portraits of independent thinkers such as Mahatma GandhiJohn Lennon and Amelia Earhart, will run concurrently with the iMac spots.

All of the ads were created by TBWA Chiat/Day of Venice.

Kunstler said it’s all well and good if the iMac is a success, but “the thing that’s important to me is can they sustain the momentum” with future product introductions. “That’s not to say that (the iMac) is a flash in the pan; I’m actually quite hopeful,” he said.

Ken Lim, a principal analyst with Cybermedia Convergence Consulting, said the iMac ads should be effective because they focus on the characteristics of the computers.

“I fail to see why anybody should be interested in buying a computer just because they flash a picture of a dead person on the screen,” said Lim, a former Apple marketing executive, referring to the Think Different campaign.

Kunstler estimates total 1998 sales for Apple will reach $5.878 billion and net income will be $245.3 million, taking into account a $10 million extraordinary item. Most of those sales come from the Power Macintosh G3, a computer used in desktop publishing. Apple is planning to launch a new portable computer early next year.

Other iMac reads