Andy Cunningham on the Influence of the Macintosh Launch

Source: Interview with Andy Cunningham by Wendy Marinaccio.

Marinaccio: A lot of people told me that Apple pioneered "event marketing" with the Macintosh launch. Do you agree with that?

Cunningham: Yeah, I do. That was a John Sculley innovation, and I think it was something he had done at Pepsi. I think it was something consumer companies had done, but John really brought it to Apple. You make a big event out of something, and it creates more stir around it, and more people talking about it. If you have a little mystique, people talk even more about it, and the particular launch event we did at De Anza got more people whispering about it-- it was like the worst-kept secret on the face of the planet! [Cunningham laughs]

Any time you're trying to market something, the whole point-- especially these days, with the Internet-- you really want to get people talking, you want to own the conversations that are going on out there. And we did with the Macintosh: we absolutely owned the conversation. So it was more than just getting journalists to cover the product the way we wanted: it was about creating this mystique, this coolness, and this "I'm on the inside" kind of thing.

Marinaccio: Why do you think so many of the things you used in the Apple launch were picked up and used in the industry?

Cunningham: It was a hugely successful launch; like I said, I think it got more publicity than any launch that has occurred before or since, so it obviously worked. That, and the wonderful "1984" ad. The combination of those two things was just phenomenal.

But again, it's like the Beatles: all the right things came together for the Macintosh. And in another combination those same right things may not have succeeded: John Sculley did not succeed at his next company, NeXT didn't succeed, but Jane and I were lucky enough to have been at the center of the whole thing-- at the center of the PR piece of it.

Marinaccio: Was there anything that didn't work?

Cunningham: [pause] I don't think so. I don't think there was anything that didn't work.

But if you look at the whole launch, the one thing I might point to was that the PR messages were going out in one vein, saying that this Macintosh was a business computer, and the advertising messages were saying that it was a home computer. If you remember the "Test Drive a Macintosh" program, the whole point was to take it home, and see how it works: they were pushing on home, home, home, and we were pushing on business, business, business.


Document created on 14 July 2000;