The iconic creative behind some of Apple’s most beloved ads retires


Lee Clow helped shape some of Apple's most iconic ads.
Photo: Apple

Lee Clow, the founder of Apple’s creative agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab and TBWA global director of media arts, is retiring at the age of 73.

A friend of Steve Jobs for three decades, Clow played a crucial role in the creation of some of Apple’s most iconic advertising campaigns. (As well as a whole lot of other, non-Apple ads.)

In the 1980s, Clow helped create the legendary “1984” campaign, designed to promote the original Macintosh.

While Ridley Scott directed the actual commercial, Clow was one of the main creatives driving the campaign. Clow, along with copywriter Steve Hayden and art director Brent Thomas, came up with the famous tagline: “Why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” It was a riff on the famous George Orwell novel, which articulated a lot of the vision behind the Mac ad.

Think Different

When Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s, the company had parted ways with Clow’s ad agency, Chiat/Day. Jobs made Clow pitch for Apple’s business, leading to the creation of the memorable “Think Different” campaign. Jobs — not always the most sentimental of people — recalled:

“It was so clear that Lee loved Apple so much. Here was the best guy in advertising. And he hadn’t pitched in ten years. Yet here he was, and he was pitching his heart out, because he loved Apple as much as we did. He and his team had come up with this brilliant idea, ‘Think Different.’ And it was ten times better than anything the other agencies showed. It choked me up, and it still makes me cry to think about it. Both the fact that Lee cared so much and also how brilliant his ‘Think Different’ idea was.

Every once in a while, I find myself in the presence of purity — purity of spirit and love — and I always cry. It always just reaches in and grabs me. That was one of those moments. There was a purity about that I will never forget. I cried in my office as he was showing me the idea, and I still cry when I think about it.”

A job well done

Later, Lee Clow also had a hand in creating the memorable “Get a Mac” ad campaign.

Clow announced his retirement plans to the agency back in October, but today’s announcement makes it official. It’s been one hell of a run! Enjoy retirement, Mr. Clow.

Source: Fast Company


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