How Apple changed the story and changed the game

Change the story. Change the game

It is a very simple idea

And over the decades nobody has employed this strategy more successfully than Apple

But before we take a look at how Apple repeatedly changed the story and changed the game we need to understand the Game:Story matrix is non-linear

Very few campaigns breakthrough and change both the story and the game

Even for Apple the overwhelming majority of their advertising isn't about changing the story to change the game

It's mostly been about reinforcing the story and reinforcing the game

This is because the breakthrough narrative appears early in the product adoption cycle

In the 5 decades Apple has been manufacturing consumer electonics it has produced just 3 advertising campaigns that have fundamentally changed the story and changed the game

The first was 1984

This was the campaign that redefined personal computing

Every subsequent campaign since that ground breaking Superbowl Ad has been about differentiating and reinforcing Apple's premium position in the personal computing market

They haven't changed the story. And they didn't change the game

The WinTel PC dominated sales volume. Apple remained a niche, premium vendor

The second was the Silhouette Series for the iPod

This was the Sony Walkman disruptor

'The 1000 songs in your pocket'

It redefined Apple as more than Personal Computer manufacturer

It ushered in the era of Wearable Apples that ultimately gave us the Apple Watch and now the Airpods

The final campaign was the Hello campaign that launched the iPhone

This was the campaign that launched the 'iPod you could call upon'... and the rest is history

Note: I have previously covered how the iPod to iPhone upgrade strategy was response to the Nokia media phone elsewhere

Now there is no shortage of Apple products and campaigns that failed to change the story and ultimately failed to change the game

The most infamous one being the Newton PDA

Apply the 'change the story game and you change the game thinking' to the Newton Commercials and it is self evident why this campaigned failed...

Was this really a story anyone would engage in?

Was it a game anybody was interested in playing?

Have a think about it... at least until next time...

Originally Published Winter 2021. What are we talking about today? Follow us on Twitter
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