Swiss watchmaker Swatch’s marketing campaign using the phrase “Tick different” has ticked off Apple, who claims it is a rip-off of its “Think Different” ad campaign that it used in the 1990s.
Swatch says the “Tick different” campaign is an outgrowth of its 1980s campaign that used the phrase “Always different, always new.” It uses “Tick different” for marketing its Bellamy wristwatch, which helped the company move into the Chinese mobile payments market in 2015 (months before Apple), since it features a built-in Visa NFC (near-field communication) payment functionality to make contact-less payments. The Bellamy, by the way, is named after author Edward Bellamy, who back in 1888 first wrote a future cashless society.
Apple has filed a complaint against Swatch in the Swiss Federal Administrative Court and now has the burden of proving that at least 50% of consumers associate the phrase “Think Different” with Apple. Another Apple complaint, filed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property has already been unsuccessful.
Swatch holds a trademark for “Tick different” in Switzerland and the US. Swatch CEO Nick Hayek, Swatch CEO, says any similarity between the two companies’ campaigns is purely coincidental.
This isn’t the first dispute between Swatch and Apple. As we wrote last September, Swatch’s opposition in the UK to Apple’s attempt to register iWatch was upheld by the UKIPO.
Although the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once called the “Think Different” campaign “crap,” Apple used it from 1997–2002. For an inside look at the development of that campaign, read Forbes’ “The Real Story Behind Apple's 'Think Different' Campaign” written by the creative director and managing partner at TBWA/Chiat/Day, the agency behind it.
See if you remember this original “Think Different” video, narrated by actor Richard Dreyfuss: