If asked to describe Apple’s advertising in four words, you could do much worse than fun, knowing, optimistic, and familiar. Looking back over its long history of commercials on the occasion of the company’s 40th anniversary, these characteristics remain almost always intact. Sure, “1984” and “Think Different” take themselves very seriously (as Bill Burr has hilariously pointed out), but overall the brand–with, for the most part, longtime agency partner TBWA/Chiat/Day–have used humor, breaking the third wall, and an infectious optimism to create the brand image Apple enjoys today as part jester, part genius, part benevolent corporate overlord.
It’s on days like this that provide an excuse to delve into our Apple feels, figure out when and how it first burrowed into both our brains and pop culture. Of course its products–innovative, beautiful, intuitive–had a lot to do with it. But so too has the personality the brand has built around those products. In the slide show above, we take a walk down marketing memory lane, to stroll through some of the company’s most memorable ads, from Apple II to Apple Watch. Whether you’re a hater or a fanboy (or just a hater of fanboys), the unequivocal fact is Apple’s success has as much to do with advertising prowess as well-designed products.