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The story behind Apple’s iconic ad

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Consigliere Bill Campbell, guru to Silicon Valley, played a key role in getting Apple’s iconic “1984” ad on the air to introduce the Mac during Super Bowl XVIII.

Company managers feared the Ridley Scott ad was too costly and controversial, and said Apple should resell the air time.

When a sales executive told Campbell and Floyd Kvamme, EVP of sales and marketing, that she’d found a buyer for the time slot, the two looked at each other.

“Did she say anything?” Campbell asked Kvamme.

They never told Apple they had a po­­tential buyer for the 60-second slot, and advertising history was made. Advertising Age calls that ad the best commercial ever made.

Campbell took over Apple’s software unit and mentored people like the future co-founders and CEOs of Palm, Handspring and Adobe Systems. He himself went on to shape Intuit, Apple and Google.

— Adapted from “The secret coach,” Jennifer Reingold, Fortune.

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