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The Influencers

Dear Super Bowl 52: Please Give Us Something to Believe. Again.

Nicole Michels McDonagh, Group Creative Director at POSSIBLE, reflects on Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign

Dear Super Bowl 52: Please Give Us Something to Believe. Again.

Like 99% of America who lives outside the greater Boston area, I’m rooting for anybody that’s not Tom Brady to win the Super Bowl. But I’m also wishing for something more. 

In 1997, I had just begun my second job in advertising as a Senior Writer at Cole & Weber. (At the time, arguably one of the best creative agencies on the West Coast.)

And then it happened. 

Think Different happened.

A campaign that so perfectly captured the essence of what it meant to be creative.

To be a creative.

It galvanized us.

It empowered us.

It made every kid who used to sit alone in the forest and write poetry or sneak away at family dinner parties to draw in the corner feel like they had a place in the world. 

An important place.

A place that could change things.

And while some undeniably beautiful, thought-provoking work has been created for the Super Bowl over the past 20 years, what I’m hoping for this year is work that once again speaks directly to those who have always thought a little different. 

Work that says not only is being one of the crazy ones okay, it’s vital. 

A cultural necessity.

It will save us.

I wish I could make my desire a prediction, but in political climates such as these clients and agencies tend to run scared.

When Rob Siltanen and Lee Clow presented Think Different to Steve Jobs, his exact words were:

“This is great, this is really great . . . but I can’t do this. People already think I’m an egotist and putting the Apple logo up there with all these geniuses will get me skewered by the press.

Long pause.

What am I doing? Screw it. It’s the right thing. It’s great. Let’s talk tomorrow.”


I’m hoping against hope that last September in a conference room somewhere in America another brave client said just about the same thing. 

This Sunday, thousands of round pegs in square holes will watch the Super Bowl. (Okay, we’re watching the ads more than the gridiron, but that’s not the point.)  

And as they face more oppression and bigotry and narrow-mindedness than we have seen in decades this new generation of creatives needs to be reminded once again that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

(*Due credit to Rob Siltanen, Ken Segall, and TBWA/Chiat/Day.)


“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


Nicole Michels McDonagh is a Group Creative Director at POSSIBLE