The 1984 Apple Macintosh TV ad
Instead of fears about computer crashes and deleted bank accounts, though, we had a good time comparing present day with the vision put on paper 36 years earlier. No, Big Brother wasn’t watching us, and, no, we weren’t using words like ‘doubleplusgood’ and ‘thoughtcrime’. It seems Mr. Orwell couldn’t predict the future very well after all.
But then, barely three weeks into the new year, as your family sat huddled around the TV set watching the Raiders pummel the Redskins in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, the game went to commercial:
The 1984 Apple Macintosh ad was unlike anything we’d seen before. A minute-long epic that looked like it belonged on a movie screen, not the 22″ RCA. (Note: the spot was directed by Ridley Scott, fresh off Blade Runner.) Don’t forget… this was the time of “HEFTY! HEFTY! HEFTY!wimpy, wimpy, wimpy” and Topol, the smoker’s toothpolish.
The ad cost $700,000 to make, another $1.5M to air, and the Apple board hated it when they saw it. Even forgetting the fact that you never actually see the product they’re selling, it was more than a little out-there. But it worked.
It was the kick-off for what’s widely considered the one of the most successful product launches in history. If the idea of an ad is to get people talking, Apple did that in spades. It aired only once, but decades later, we still remember it. In 2000, TV Guide ranked it the best TV commercial ever. Ever.
It’s brilliant. It’s mind-blowing (even more so, in its day). And it was sooo 80s.
Besides… without it, what would Hooters girls be wearing these days?
We ♥ the 1984 Apple Macintosh ad.