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Think Different – Rosa Parks Rosa Parks TributeIn a Google-like tribute,’s front page pays homage to Rosa Parks, following her passing. Click the image to read about her and the life she led.

While I love the gesture (and really do think it’s well-done), I can’t help but feel that Apple’s inclusion of their “Think Different” branding on the image sours it a bit with a marketing slant. I know, Apple’s paying their respects and embracing her, as they both ‘Think Different’. I get that. But to me, it almost feels as if they’re claiming her with that slogan…

Does it cheapen the tribute in your eyes? Let me know your thoughts on the subject.

29 Responses to “Think Different – Rosa Parks”

  1. Beverly Sieracki

    As soon as you read it you get it – but I like it and I don’t think it cheapens Apple’s tribute to Ms. Parks. After all, I don’t think the Apple company needs to use a tribute to broaden the advertising of their fantastic products.

  2. I think that the only reason Apple put the logo in the corner of the picture was so that people realised it was a message from apple on the apple site. If you didn’t know Apples website, you might thnnk you were on a history site with a couple of ad banners above and below Rosa Parks.

  3. It’s more a matter of knowing and respecting your clients (Or those who buy your products). I think Apple has no need to put their logo on somehting they consider a tribute because, yes, as said before, it’s their appropriation of said myth to connect with their own.

    It’s weak and shows a lock of personal creative drive within the company to think differently on their own. By riding on the accomplishments of others, Apple fails to create it’s own personality.

    Apple has done that to some degree, but really this is no more than a Coca-Cola sponsorship moment. I refuse to watch tv because the advertising is so blatant, anyone who isn’t strongly aware or annoyed by it is brain dead.

    The letter M, brought to you today by Monsanto, and the letter R by Rosa Parks and Apple. You associate the two and it combines and enhances Apple. If apple REALLY wanted to do a tribute, they’d contribute to a civil rights organization workingon one, or anonymously.

    This is like any politician that shows up at the end to cut the ribbon on someone else’s hard work. It’s lame.

  4. Rosa Parks was a brave person. I’m not against tributes for her by private companies. However, what about some tributes that are even more relevant to our present time? How about a tribute to the thousands of brave Americans in our military today who are fighting the world war againts terror in Iraq, Afghanistan etal.?

  5. Raven Lee

    They should never use their log on their website. That’s crass commercialism. And what does Apple, or for that matter the US government, have to do with the Indian Ocean or Tsunamis?

  6. Raven Lee

    “This is not nice, nobel, or sweet… it’s a commercial.”

    Yes, because businesses can’t be nice, noble or sweet.

    I guess beer companies should stop delivering millions of gallons of clean, potable water during floods and hurricanes or advertise the Red Cross logo on their websites because they are just advertising to thirsty victims.


    Apple developed a campaign called “Think Different” in 1997. The Rosa Parks ad debutted in 1998. I don’t see anything wrong with them featuring her on their website or linking to a bio of her contributions to the world.

    If Apple had a Rosa Parks Special Edition iPod and the ad linked to that product, then yes, I would be in agreement that it would be crass commercialism.

    The argument that Apple resurrected a 6 old campaign just to sell products is a facetious one. If they were still interested in the ad campaign, it would still be running now. Apple is a much more recognizable name than Rosa Parks, Theodore Roosevelt, Alexander the Great, Lord Nelson, Yi Sun Shin, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson and other historical figures who have changed the face of history. Btw, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson led the campaign to abolish slavery in Britain and succeeded in 1833 fyi.

    If you had remembered the whole point of the ad, it was a tribute to all the rebels, geniuses, misfits, outcasts who changed the world.

    Apple has also changed the world. You would not be using a personal computer if it were not for Apple. Nor would you be doing so from a gui.

    Personal computers have changed every facet of society; art, science, technology, medicine, exploration, communication, etc.

    How many millions of people have been saved by personal computers?

    So let’s not delude ourselves. Rosa Parks was a great person because she was courageous and was at the right place at the right time.

    She made the first move. But she called on her pastor, a certain Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for help. He was the one that started the Civil Rights movement.

    More power to Apple for doing such tributes. No other company seemed to care that she died. No other company had the guts to do so.

    Think Different.

  7. I’m with you, Nick, on this one.

    I had a quiet morning when my clock went off that morning earlier this week and I heard on NPR that Rosa Parks had died. While it will be argued if her acts were what started the civil rights movement, or rather if she were the catalyst for the explosion of those things that were already happening and in place, no one doubts how huge an impact she did have on our world, and I wish we had done more than we have done in her lifetime to improve the social reality for minority groups than we have.

    Personally, I think it is possible while a figure is living to connect them to a marketting campaign if they are amenable. Similarly it’s also fine to do the same to someone long dead, as they become more of a historical figure.

    However, while a tribute from Apple (especially given their prior relationship) to Rosa Parks would have been perfectly reasonable (hell, admirable … it annoys me when companies try to pretend not to be political and socially involved in their society) the connection of the marketting campaign to her now, just after her death, cheapens not Rosa Parks, but rather any sincerity that Apple may have in the tribute.

    When does the passing of a highly influential person be far enough in the past that it is okay that we can use their memory? I don’t know, and won’t pretend to, but it is certainly the case, given the (over)use of Einstein’s mugshot. But only a day or two after their death? I think it is easily safe enough to say that that wouldn’t be.

    Apple is a company known, more renown, for being political, socially, ethically conscious (even from us rabid lefties). THIS isn’t the way to do this. A tribute should simply and emphatically be a tribute, without any thoughts of gain on one’s own part. That isn’t the case here, and Apple is lessened because of it.

    At least that’s my 0.02

  8. Why is this “obviously sincere”?

    Apple is marketing here. Just because they have done similar things before, or just because there are people in the company who truly love and respect the woman, doesn’t make it any less… marketing.

    George Bush avoided speaking to the NAACP for years and gave an opinion on an affirmative action case out of his jurisdiction on MLK’s birthday in order to send his conservative base a “secret message” on how he felt about African America rights. But on the day of Rosa Parks’ passing, he praised her all day. You’d have to be quite a rube to believe Bush actually sat around thinking of what an inspiration she was to him, as he claimed. It was a cynical and manipulative ploy.

    I’m not saying the Apple thing is that – after all, Bush is actively trying to roll back civil rights, and Apple is obviously not. Just saying a lot of people appropriated Parks yesterday for their own purposes.

    A better comparison would be Microsoft. There is no doubt there are people in the Microsoft executive offices who admire and love Parks as well. Irrelivent. Had they done this, we would be much less full of praises. A lot of us would be laughing at them. Some of us would be complaining. Some would be shrugging it off. Few of us would be saying it was sweet of them.

    I’m not exactly offended by it, since it’s pretty much normal activity for Apple (and everyone else). But I’m not impressed either. What marketers do is develop their brand. Part of how Apple does it is by extending the idea of their brand over to the accomplishments of people like Parks, Einstein, Ali, Picasso….. Many times they are doing it with people like Einstein who died long before there were Macs and may or may not have wanted to be endorsers of this company.

    Frankly, this is “OK” for Apple where some companies could not get away with it because their fans are so adoring of the company. The irony of the Apple brand has always been that they urge you to “Think Different” and yet Mac users are the most flock-like consumers in history. No other company has users so religious.

    We all think so differently we formed a church so we could all do it together. And that adoration and herd like behavior limits our ability to see marketing like this as what it is. I’ve always thought using the completely unassociated actions of Ghandi or John Lennon to add meaning to the Apple brand was iffy, at the least (altho, beautifully done, if you are an ad exec).

    Let’s not get carried away. This is not nice, nobel, or sweet… it’s a commercial.

    And if there are some Apple execs who think the world of Parks, it’s still a commercial.

  9. BTW, there is no way that one can compare Apple with Ms. Park. Although Apple thinks differently, Ms. Park’s contribution to the country exceeded apple’s probably by million folds.

  10. Um, how is this Google like?
    Apple’s been doing tributes since before Google was incubated…
    I like it, I read the story and became reaquainted with her live.
    Then I checked out some products.

  11. Does it cheapen Rosa Parks?

    No. “Think different” is exactly what she did. Apple should be commended for recognizing such an important catalyst in the expansion of democracy in America.

  12. of course apple uses it as a kind of advertisement but it also shows the support of Apple, a huge enterprise, behind one woman and behind some ideals too.

    it’s positive.

    (and typical “think different” of Apple. very nice)

    it’s not the first time apple did it.

    the photography is also gorgeous.

  13. I agree that the tribute is appropriate and very nice gesture and may even educate some folks more about her.

    I disagree about the Think Different logo. I believe that the tie in with Apple and Rosa Parks as a “different thinker” is a great tribute to her. Shameless promotion?? Sure, but it is their website and they did decide to do a tribute…they didn’t *have* to do it! I like it.

  14. I don’t mind. It’s obviously sincere. And if the powers-that-be at Apple feel it actually connects them in some way with Rosa Parks, then so much the better for them.

  15. I think it’s a nice thing of Apple to do. Apple have used their “Think Different” branding/campaign of Rosa Parks before, when she was alive, and now that she is gone it’s just right to give her one more tribute.
    It’s not like Apple is trying to sell a product with that image; when you click it you don’t see any Apple products, you only see information about Rosa Parks and with a link to the National Civil Rights Museum.
    This is just as much, or more, a marketing slant for Rosa Parks as for Apple.

  16. I think it would be a little more tasteful if they didn’t actually have their logo above think different. It makes it seem as if they’re more important than her. I think its very classy of Apple to pay tribute to Mrs. Parks, but they shouldn’t slap their logo on Rosa Parks, one of the greatest Americans of our time.