Tuesday, February 08, 2005

um, what was infamous about Apple's '1984' ad? does anybody know?

From CNN.com:
"The Super Bowl and its ads are the most widely-watched television event of the year. But paying top dollar to hawk products during the game doesn't guarantee a sales boost. On the one hand, Apple Computer's infamous '1984' ad nearly two decades ago helped generate $4.5 million in sales within six hours of its broadcast, according to Bernice Kanner's 'The Super Bowl of Advertising: How the Commercials Won the Game.' "
(Here is the commercial, BTW.)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think it's infamous because...it generated so much money directly. everyone's been trying to copy since. (and "infamous" not "famous" because cnn is a card-carrying member of the anti-capitalist liberal media?)

Ann Althouse said...

You know how flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. It's like that.

knit wit said...

well the whole orwellian tone and the tagline "why 1984 won't be like 1984" and the sledge hammer bashing "big brother" (bill gates) was pretty memorable. i also remember hearing that it made such an impression that tv news showed it after the superbowl giving it even more airtime.

Anonymous said...

The following text from http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=1984
might shed some light on its imfamousness. I've never seen the whole thing before now. It's a pretty cool commercial, actually.


"The scholar Jim Twitchell examined this ad in his worthwhile Twenty Ads that Shook the World, noting quite rightly that Scott's dystopian world is right out of 1920s German expressionist film by directors like Murnau and Lang. He also cogently notes that the Macintosh has as its representative a woman--indeed, one flaunting her secondary sexual characteristics--whereas the drones are either androgynous or male (many of their heads are shaven, and a few have respirator masks over their faces). Big bad old IBM is a bunch of men, and in male fashion impose their rigid logic on you; Apple has flexible, iconoclastic, intuitive power on its side.

The ad did terribly when screened by test audiences, and Apple evidently wanted to axe it (the ad cost $400,000, and the superbowl time cost half a million dollars). Twitchell relates that when the board of directors were about to can the commercial, Woz turned to Jobs and said "I'll pay for half if you pay for the other half." And so the commercial ran."

jnsys said...

As I recall, it was shown once, and only once as a commercial. As in, ad-time was bought once, and only for that superbowl. Fabulous!

jnsys said...

I meant to add, "Fabulous, as in fabulous return on investment, and as in amazing, amazing, amazing!"

Anonymous said...

CNN anti-capitalist? What the hell are you talking about? Ted Turner is a freakin' billionaire!

jeremy said...

Ted Turner doesn't have anything to do with the daily operations of CNN, and hasn't since the November takeover of their headquarters by the Bolsheviks.

Tom Bozzo said...

What is less famous, but perhaps more infamous in an Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia sense, is the iPod-enhanced 1984 ad from last year's Macworld.

Tom Bozzo said...

Sorry about the broken link. That's what I get for commenting after my bedtime. Mac geeks might check out some interesting 1984 Apple video here.