It’s been many years since Apple last used its famous “Think Different” advertising slogan, which accompanied the company’s ads from soon after Jobs’ return in 1997 until the launch of the iMac G4 in 2002.
Almost a decade-and-a-half later, however, Apple’s not content to let the trademark lapse on its iconic mantra: this month updating it for the first time since 2009 with a new European Patent and Trademark Office filing.
Patently Apple points out that Apple has expanded the various “international classes” covered by the trademark from one to eight. Apple can now claim to “think different” with regards to the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Pencil, iPad, Siri, and games, business management, subscription services, telecommunications, broadcasting, music, television, and educational services services.
Does this mean we’ll see a new set of “Think Different” ads from Apple? Much as it would certainly be a fun exercise in nostalgia, I’d have to say no.
Although Tim Cook keeps a copy of one of the “Think Different” ads in his office, and Apple clearly subscribes to the mantra of thinking outside the box, the situation the company finds itself in today is very, very different from the late-1990s. When, in 2013, Apple’s ad company TBWA/Media Arts Lab suggested that Apple needed to again differentiate itself from the pack with a similar ad campaign, Phil Schiller flipped out and sent a series of emails blasting the ad agency.
Ultimately, “Think Different” worked at a time when Apple was still the nippy underdog fighting off much larger competitors; a scenario that no longer applies. In all likelihood, the trademark updating is just to stop rivals from trying to pinch Apple’s slogan.
For anyone thinking that no-one is petty enough to try that, remember that rival watchmaker Swatch last year trademarked Steve Jobs’ iconic “One more thing” catchphrase, shortly after Apple began competing with it in the watch business. Yep, Apple’s filing does kind of make sense in that light!