Apple’s 1984 commercial is considered by most pundits, one of the most creative commercial ever broadcasted anywhere ever. It had a price a price tag of $750,000 which was a lot of money in those days and it’s duration was of only one minute.
The story goes that Steve Jobs wanted to launch the Macintosh with an inspiring commercial that was as revolutionary as the computer itself. He loved the Orwellian tagline when it was presented to him, and he encouraged the Chiat-Day advertising agency to pursue it. “I want something that will stop people in their tracks”, he said. “I want a thunderclap.”
Apple booked two expensive slots for sixty and thirty seconds, costing over a million dollars to show it during Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984, which was just two days before the Macintosh launch. The commercial would air early in the third quarter, at the first commercial break after the second half kick-off. Only the sixty seconds ad was finally chosen due to internal resistance to the ad from within Apple’s top brass.
Steve Hayden and Brent Thomas put together a storyboard for a 60 second ad that would look like a scene from a science-fiction movie. It featured a rebellious young woman outrunning the Orwellian thought police and throwing a sledgehammer into a screen showing a mind-controlling speech by Big Brother.
The heroine, with a drawing of a Macintosh emblazoned on her white tank top, was a renegade out to foil the establishment—obviously IBM. A female discus thrower was chosen to play the heroine. Just at the moment when Big Brother announces, “We shall prevail,” the heroine’s hammer smashes the screen and it vaporizes in a flash of light and smoke.
At its end, as the drones watched in horror the vaporizing of Big Brother, an announcer calmly intoned, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ’1984′.”
The ad was so admired that it was often replayed for free. It also temporarily boosted the company’s sales, employee’s morale, and stock price. It was an immediate sensation. More than 96 million people watched an ad that was unlike anything they’d seen before.
That evening, all three networks and fifty local stations aired news stories about the ad, giving it a viral life unprecedented in the pre-YouTube era. It would eventually be selected by both TV Guide and Advertising Age as the greatest commercial of all times.
For your ready reference, I’ve selected the “1984″ historic commercial extracted from YouTube for your enjoyment. This is it.
And now you know the rest of the story. Good Day.