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Advertising Legend Behind Apple's Iconic '1984', 'Think Different', and Mac vs. PC Campaigns Retires

The creative mastermind behind some of Apple's most iconic advertising campaigns announced his retirement today.

Lee Clow

Lee Clow, the Global Director of Media Arts at Apple's advertising agency partner TBWA, will move into an advisory role as Chairman Emeritus of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, a division of the agency he founded in 2006 to exclusively serve Apple. His iconic, award-winning career spanned five decades.

Over a 30-plus-year partnership with Apple, Clow worked on some of the company's most famous campaigns, including its "1984" ad for the original Macintosh, "Get a Mac" series of Mac vs. PC ads, "Think Different" slogan after Steve Jobs returned in 1997, and colorful silhouette ads for the iPod and iTunes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reflected on Clow's legendary career:
During his long partnership with Steve and Apple, Lee told powerful visual stories that elevated new technologies with the passion, creativity and ingenuity that define our own humanity. He helped Apple carry itself through times of challenge, and his work inspired audiences to look beyond the horizon as an exciting future came into view. Lee's body of work over five decades hums with cleverness, warmth and enthusiasm—and there is no doubt that it will inspire and motivate generations of 'Crazy Ones' still to come.
A look back at some of those ads:

TBWA\Media Arts Lab will continue to serve Apple around the world, led by executives Katrien De Bauw and Brent Anderson.

Top Rated Comments

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22 weeks ago
Always loved that 1984 commercial.

Funny how times have changed - today Apple itself is the monster on the big screen. Big, arrogant, greedy, restrictive.
Rating: 30 Votes
22 weeks ago
Those were amazing and memorable ads.

Now an iPhone spins in a circle. Creativity has left the building.
Rating: 27 Votes
22 weeks ago
I would have quit too if I had produced such iconic, influential body of work for a company that now seems perfectly content with vapid Memoji tripe.
Rating: 24 Votes
22 weeks ago
When you look at those ads and the way Apple is today, it shows you how Apple today has lost its vision. Apple during Jobs at the helm was full of crisp ideas and eye catching innovativeness just like those ads. They wanted to wow people and represent themselves as life changers. Now it is too focused on how to monetize.

I do not like how and where they are moving to...
Rating: 12 Votes
22 weeks ago
For me the ad campaigns he made stood for something. It made me feel proud using Apple gear. Today's Apple ads can be from anyone... change the name... and voilà.

I wish him a good retirement and thank him for his excellent job.
Rating: 12 Votes
22 weeks ago
Shame, loved his work.

I bet if Steve was still around, he be able to pull him out of retirement again.

I loved reading about him in Steve’s autobiography.
Rating: 12 Votes
22 weeks ago
In fact, Apple as a whole retired before him: The Mac vs PC characters are nowadays flipped, with Apple playing exactly the same role as the PC in those ads. Having your phone telling you got a new memory is something that could only happen to the PC character in those ads.
Rating: 11 Votes
22 weeks ago
Back in the had to be there.
Rating: 11 Votes
22 weeks ago

Seeing as Apple doesn't 'think different' anymore, what was there left for him to do?

Ripoff different
Bend different
Throttle different
Dongle different
Rating: 11 Votes
22 weeks ago
I used to build PCs. It was a constant struggle and very time consuming. The Mac vs. PC ads didn't convince me to switch, but they got my attention and had me looking more closely at Apple products. The iPhone looked really cool so I bought that at launch and was smitten, so I bought my first Mac in early 2008.
Rating: 10 Votes

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