Apple Smashes Super Bowl Advertising in 1984
“Two days ago we ran a Super Bowl ad that could’ve won the Oscar for best short film. There are more people who can tell you about that ad than can tell you who won the game.” -Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) in the movie “Steve Jobs”
1984 was the year George Orwell chose for his dystopian book about Big Brother. While it didn’t come true, it inspired TV’s greatest ad. Directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien) and from agency Chiat/Day, Apple’s 1984 aired during Super Bowl XVIII and became bigger than the game! Challenging Orwell’s pessimistic view of computers, Steve Jobs wanted a cinematic ad reflecting his belief that computers empowered the individual.
Starring Anya Major (wearing a Mac shirt) as the heroine who frees the drones by hammering Big Brother, the ad overcame dislike from Apple’s Board (prompting Chiat/Day to sell 30 of the 90 purchased seconds) and is credited with starting the Super Bowl ad frenzy. Featuring a haunting score and an eerie, cold look, Scott made the ad for under $250,000. He even used local skinheads as the drones. It was a bold ad with a bold message: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’.”
However, IBM, which also ran a game spot, won the initial computer battle. It would take Apple a couple more years to become the titan, but its commercial was an instant marketing milestone… and still is.
- SOURCE: NFL Films YouTube
- BRANDS: Apple, Super Bowl
- WHY IT’S ONE OF THE BEST: Because you don’t remember who won the 1984 Super Bowl, but you remember the Apple ad