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Apple’s Iconic, Creepy 1984 Ad Turns 30

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On January 22nd, 1984, Apple unveiled one of the most famous advertisements of all time on the biggest night in advertising.

The minute-long commercial would introduce the Macintosh personal computer and would only be shown once, on CBS, during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII (with a minor exception). The ad sparked controversy, and Apple was even hit with a cease and desist order from the estate of George Orwell, whose famous novel 1984 clearly influenced the entire concept of the ad.

Most interpretations of the ad see the hammer-wielding runner as a representation of Apple (or at least the new Macintosh), who frees humanity from Big Brother, conformity, and whatever dystopian future that’s projected. Read IBM. “See why 1984 won’t be like 1984,” reads the text at the end.

The ad was directed by acclaimed director Ridley Scott, who had just directed the seminal classic Blade Runner.

Here’s Steve Jobs discussing the legendary ad at a 1983 keynote:

“It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?”

So, happy birthday creepy, yet highly inventive Apple ad. Maybe we’ll see some sort of updated version like we got 10 years ago, when Apple made a few slick additions to herald the coming of a new iPod:

Image via YouTube

Apple’s Iconic, Creepy 1984 Ad Turns 30
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