In this guest spot, CEO of digital agency NTWRK Wes Fischer says it’s time to embrace your inner crazy…
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Rob Siltanen, founder of Siltanen & partners.
What a crazy thing to say, right? Yet here we are, living in a future shaped by those insane enough to shape it. These individuals defy the convention with their ideas and muster the courage and persistence to make them into a reality in the face of criticism and reluctance. It is the crazy ones that have ushered the evolution of crazy – from mere madness to the new “cool” of this day and age.
Even from a business perspective, crazy is a powerful secret ingredient that can turn the tables from failure to success, and no other brand demonstrates this fact better than Apple. Today, the technology heavyweight boasts the title of the most valuable business in the world, surpassing Microsoft and Amazon with a market capitalisation of US$821.59 billion.
However in 1997, Apple was embroiled in severe financial crisis with shareholders and customers losing faith and competitors closing in fast. The widespread ridicule of its computers as toys incapable of ‘real’ computing and bad press about its shrinking market share only made things worse.
But when you are a brand crazy enough to defy the norm, in what a desktop computer should look like at the time with something like the first-generation iMac, you are crazy enough to honour the misfits, rebels, troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes, the ones who see things differently, the ones who are not fond of rules and have no respect of the status quo in your TV ad.
That TV spot, aptly titled “Think Different – Here’s to the Crazy Ones”, evoked the spirit of Apple through Steve Jobs’ passion and vision to change the future. It allowed him to breathe new life into the Apple brand.
Fast forward more than two decades later and we see, once again, how crazy has evolved and how non-conforming can propel a brand forward.
In a day and age where brands are quick to revoke their endorsement for reasons ranging from misconduct to wearing the wrong watch, Nike chose to swim against the current by featuring two controversial athletes in their ads.
First was the 2018 “Dream Crazy” ad starring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who sparked outrage for kneeling during the national anthem in protest over police killings of unarmed black men. The backlash of the ad came in the form of the highly publicised destruction of Nike shoes, socks, and kits.
Six months later, Nike set the internet abuzz again with its “Dream Crazier” ad which stars and is narrated by Serena Williams who, following her 2018 Grand Slam defeat to Naomi Osaka, called out gender bias towards female athletes in sports.
To anyone too afraid to “Just Do It”, both ads no doubt amounted to a crazy move by Nike. Yet, despite the controversies surrounding these individuals, Nike has always stood by its commitment to supporting and honouring great athletes.
The result of being “crazy”? Nike saw its market value rise over US$6 billion with sales continuing to hit record highs. Today, with a brand value of US$32.4 billion, it holds the title of the world’s most valuable apparel brand. Along with that, Apple is now the most valuable brand in the world. Not bad for two businesses who were considered “crazy” for going against the grain.
The Apple and Nike brands of today are proof that “crazy” is no longer simply crazy. Perhaps Rob Siltanen was right all along, the crazy ones do indeed change the world.