Former CEO John Sculley explains how Apple sells experiences

Former CEO John Sculley explains how Apple sells experiences



I’m a sucker for Apple history, and I particularly enjoy hearing from the people who had an impact on shaping Steve Jobs into the incredible force of nature that he became.

In a new interview with John Sculley, the former Apple CEO sheds some light on what may have been his single biggest lasting impact on Apple: the drive toward making the experience of using an Apple product one of the company’s most important focuses.

Sculley catches a lot of flack for being the CEO who kicked Jobs out of Apple back in 1985, but after Jobs and Tim Cook he was the best of CEO Apple ever had, and someone who’s always interesting to hear talk about Apple. In this particular video he shares his thoughts on the original Macintosh ad and why Apple trumps everyone else at marketing.

More of Sculley’s thoughts after the jump.

On what Apple borrowed from Pepsi, where Sculley had been CEO:

“When Steve Jobs and I met in the early days, long before I joined Apple, and we were getting to know one another, he was fascinated about the idea of selling his new computer he was building called the Macintosh, which wasn’t yet fully developed, [using] the marketing techniques we as consumer branders were using in what was then known as the Cola Wars, Pepsi versus Coke. He loved the Pepsi Challenge. I said, ’Steve, what we learned is it’s all about the experience. We never talk about the product details, we only try to capture the experience.’

Several years later we introduced the first Macintosh, we did a commercial in the Superbowl, which was called 1984, and what was remarkable about that commercial, particularly for a high-tech product, we never once showed the product or mentioned any technical characteristics of the product.

What we did was to sell an experience, that something incredible was going to happen on January 24, 1984 … It became one of the most legendary commercials ever made, and it was actually inspired by the work we did back at Pepsi.”

On what Apple does right in its marketing:

“There are still some very good experience advertising campaigns, and guess who runs some of the best: Apple. What’s really interesting to me is that Samsung and Microsoft way outspend Apple by a mile on how much money they put behind their advertising. And yet everyone seems to remember the Apple commercials. Can you remember a Microsoft commercial, or a Samsung commercial? Apple always focuses on the experience. It will rarely talk about how many bits or bytes or memory, or other characteristics of the product.”

A similar theory about how Apple sells experiences was recently put forward by former ad exec Ken Segall to explain why Apple proves so extraordinary resilient to controversies like Bendgate.

Via: The Loop


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