The 10 Best Ads to Come out of Steve Jobs' Reign at Apple

As Legendary Marketer Steps Down, Ad Age and Creativity Pick Their Top Spots

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Perhaps no other modern-day marketer has captured the public's imagination like Steve Jobs. As he steps down as CEO of Apple, Ad Age and Creativity look at some of the ads -- and these are by no means definitive -- that will mark his career highlights reel.

"1984"
Considered by most to be the best Super Bowl commercial -- and possibly best overall spot -- ever. Well ... is it?

(For those of you reading along at home: For today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may be bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!)

"Silhouettes"
Apple's next big ad move came during reign 2.0 for Jobs, when he invented the market for portable digital music players. The most memorable iPod ads featured silhouettes dancing to catch pop songs -- and many an audience was turned onto bands from Jet to Franz Ferdinand.

"Mac vs. PC"
In 2006 came the now much imitated "Mac vs. PC" series. Is it just us, or do John Hodgman and Justin Long look so young in these early spots? These ads, created out of TBWA/Media Arts Lab, used human interaction to display the differences between the PC and the Mac. The name of this one is "Virus."

"Stacks"
In 2007 the Nano arrived, and along with it the mass introduction of Canadian singer-songwriter Feist in a spot that subtly but perfectly illustrated how small the device could go.

"Quotes"
After striking gold with its "Mac vs. PC" TV spots, Apple spent the better part of 2007 and 2008 dominating the online space. It created a series of rich-media banner ads out of TBWA and its Media Arts Lab starring "Mac" and "PC." In this ad, the bespectacled "PC" climbs a ladder and staples a "Not" sign to the end of a Wall Street Journal Leopard-favoring comment on top of the page in what amounts to a nifty interactive trick that outshines those in a standard rollover banner ad. Not to mention the editorial twist: The WSJ's recommendation ran at the very top of the front page of the New York Times' site, just below the Gray Lady's logo, as you can see. Clevah!

"Funnest"
Another rich-media gem, Apple celebrated the launch of its iPod Touch, which gave other portable gaming competitors a run for their virtual currency, with a series of online ads that manipulated the entire site the user was visiting.

"Calamari"
Because it's not the ad, it's the product, as made clear by this blissfully simple ad promoting the introduction of everything the iPhone can do.

"Envelope"
When Apple introduced the MacBook Air, it called upon the oldest illustrative trick in the book. The size of this thin, graceful new laptop is approximately ... that of an inter-office envelope.

"Meet iPad"
Jobs harkened back to the original iPhone commercials in which the star is the product and all it can do, set to a catchy soundtrack.

"Meet Her"
Apple shows yet again that it is a master of the heartstrings.

Update: Of course as we built this late at night, we knew we we'd unintentionally leave off one or two. So thanks, Dan Ng, for reminding us of a classic. (How could we forget Jobs's infamous snub to grammarians everywhere?) So here it is , a bonus 11th ad...

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