What would it take to get more people buying Macs? I tried to push toward getting the consumer message heard with a suggestion that I thought would work brilliantly. The head of U.S. car manufacturer Chrysler at the time was the charismatic Lee Iacocca. When the company hit a hardship period, unable to sell enough cars, Chrysler and its ad agency created a series of television commercials featuring CEO Lee himself. Standing in front of the camera, with one hand on the fender of a Chrysler car, Lee explained the features and reasons why your car choice should be a Chrysler. The ads were compelling enough to bring a turn-around in the fortunes of the company.
If Lee hadn’t been such an engaging, outgoing person, the commercials would have been a bad waste of money. But he had just the personality to be able to bring it off.
I argued that Steve was at least as compelling a speaker as Lee—we had all seen that from the session when he first introduced the Macintosh to a large audience of reporters and others, as well as on other occasions. He could talk for a couple of hours at a time and hold an audience riveted.
My idea was to do an ad with Steve standing next to a Mac, explaining the great features of this great product. I thought that ad would be a terrific way to stimulate sales and let the customers know about Steve’s compassion for his products.
Steve was more than willing and took the idea to CEO John Sculley. Nothing doing: John shot it down.