1984, the Apple ad that almost never saw the light of day

A few months after the release and failure of Apple’s Lisa, one of the first personal computers with mice, it was the Macintosh’s turn to make its appearance. A launch preceded by a massive advertising campaign in December 1983 showcasing the simplicity of the new device to everyone. It is indeed the first personal computer sold by the brand but it is above all the one that will popularize the use of the mouse.

The first Macintosh launched on January 24, 1984. Source: AppleInsider.

Did you know: the name Macintosh would come from the name McIntosh, the favorite apple variety of Jeff Raskin, the founder of the project.

For his revolutionary product, Steve Jobs wanted publicity at his height and for that, a budget of 750,000 dollars was released to carry out his publicity.

1984: advertising

For the realization of the advertisement Steve Jobs called on Lee Clox, director of the advertising agency Chiat/Day (now merged with TBWA) and Ridley Scott, known for his science fiction films such as Alien or Blade Runner .

The combination of their ideas led them to a short film referencing George Orwell’s 1984 novel depicting a totalitarian regime controlled by Big Brother.

It is therefore in an industrial, post-apocalyptic and oppressive atmosphere that the advertisement opens with men dressed without color or expression who cross a tunnel under the surveillance of several screens while in the background, it makes an authoritarian male voice. Hear.

Suddenly a woman appears, hammer in hand. It is the British athlete and model Anya Major who comes to free them from the influence of Big Brother, a metaphor to represent IBM.

In the middle of the room where all the men have their eyes on the screen, she throws her hammer to destroy it and that’s when the slogan appears “On January 24, Apple Computer will present the Macintosh to you.” And you will see why 1984 (the year) will not be like 1984 (the book) ”.

After a rough cut, the agency will present the spot to John Sculley and Steve Jobs who approve the result. Presented on October 23, 1983 for the first time at an annual sales conference in front of over 750 people, the advertisement received a more than warm welcome.

At Apple, things get complicated …

During the first presentation to the Board of Directors of Apple to validate the advertisement, the reception is quite different. Members were so upset against its publication that they pressured the ad agency to resell the two 60-second and 30-second ad spaces previously purchased for broadcast on Super Bowl night in order to that they do not broadcast the advertisement.

Steve Jobs, convinced of his publicity, will seek support from Steve Wozniak’s side, who, after seeing the advertisement, will tell him it is the best advertisement he has ever seen. The two men even considered paying for the advertising space planned for the Super Bowl themselves.

Jay Chiat, co-founder of the agency, will, after receiving the directive to resell the spaces, not respect it, or at least only halfway. He will resell the 30-second slot but keep the 60-second slot.

The distribution agreement will ultimately come from the brand’s marketing department to publish the entire film in the final.

Apple 1984: Broadcast granted

Thus, January 22, 1984, during the final of the 18th Super Bowl at Tampa Stadium in Florida, that will be distributed during the first half the commercial “1984” Apple a minute in front of over 96 million viewers.

Following the advertisement, Apple’s switchboards will explode with calls from people wanting to know more about this revolutionary product. The craze is such that channels such as ABS, CDS or even NBS talk about it and rebroadcast it in their evening newspapers. The advertisement will even make the front pages of Time, the Wall Street Journal or even Forbes. She will win the Grand prix of the Cannes Lion Advertising Festival the same year.

A success which is all the more so since at no time will the advertising show the product it is supposed to promote.

All’s well That ends well ?

Two days after the Super Bowl broadcast, it was in front of 2,600 people present at the Flint Center at De Anza College in Capertino, California, that Steve Jobs officially presented the Macintosh for the first time to the general meeting of shareholders. The Macintosh 128K appears, to the background of music by Vangelis composed for Chariots of Fire. With just one click of the mouse, he even starts talking “Hello. My name is Macintosh. It feels good to get out of that bag “

However, sales of the Macintosh are not taking off. Following various disagreements, Steve Jobs left the company in September 1985 to find NeXT. It was in 1997, Apple then on the verge of bankruptcy bought NeXT and Steve Jobs will therefore come back to its head and trigger the success that we know today.

Is the revolution still on the march?

Epic Games parodied this famous Apple ad following the ban of the game phenomenon Fortnite from the Apple Store (and the Google Store) this summer. Indeed, on these platforms, developers must pay a commission up to 30% of transactions made by users. To bypass this system and thus allow players to save money by paying less, Epic Games had installed an alternative payment method that bypassed the basic systems. Having broken the rules, Apple and Google removed the game.

Following this ousting, Epic Games took legal action against Apple for “Anticompetitive” action and combined it with a little communication stunt with a parody of Apple’s “1984” ad turning the brand to apple. From the liberator to the oppressor with the #freefortnite that made the buzz on social networks.

Even today the situation is still not resolved and the game is still not available on the Apple Store but Epic Games has not said its last word. The famous game is soon back on your Apple devices thanks to Nvidia. To be continued …

So what happens to the Apple of 1984 today? While the brand was against uniformity, like a revolutionary brand that frees us from Big Brother, when we know the place the brand occupies and its situation in the current market, we wonder which side of the screen she is.

Categories: Digital Marketing, Marketing

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