Apple’s Iconic 1984 Commercial Turns 30 Today [Video]

apple-1984-runner

For any longtime Apple fans, it’s amazing to think that today marks 30 years since the January 22, 1984 airing of the Nineteen Eighty Four-inspired Macintosh commercial, directed by Ridley Scott.

Not only did the commercial usher in Apple’s most famous desktop computer brand, but it also served as a perfect articulation of the Apple identity: an identity that continues along the same lines three decades later.

While the $900,000 ad did run once in a midnight spot on December 31, 1983 in Twin Falls, Idaho so as to qualify for the 1983 advertising awards, today represents thirty years since its most famous airing during the Super Bowl XVIII.

(Since arguments over the which was the best Apple commercial of all time are likely to vary between this and Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” ad, it is also interesting to note that Craig Tanimoto, the young creative who coined the “Think Different” tagline, was inspired to join Apple’s ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day after seeing the Macintosh commercial as a student.)

To help celebrate this iconic ad — which very nearly didn’t air at all thanks to concerns from the Apple board — one Cult of Mac reader took the time to compile a YouTube playlist, which regroups every single video related to Steve Jobs’ groundbreaking announcement and the iconic 1984 commercial that established the myth.

These are the 18 videos that are included:

Steve Jobs introduces the Original Macintosh – Apple Shareholder Event (1984)
Apple Macintosh introduction video – A revolutionary breakthrough (1984)
Steve Jobs featured in internal video about the Macintosh Team (1984)
Steve Jobs hosts the Macintosh dating game at the Macintosh pre-launch event (1983)
Steve Jobs presents the “1984’ ad at the Macintosh pre-launch event (1983)
Apple Macintosh original ad – 1984 (1984)
Apple Macintosh original ad remastered – 1984 “20th Anniversary” (2004)
Apple (unreleased) Macintosh ad – “1984’ 30-second version (1984)
Apple internal video – The making of “1984’ featuring Ridley Scott (1984)
Apple internal video – The making of “1984’ aka Skin Ritz (1983)
Apple Macintosh ad – Computer for the Rest of Us 1 (1984)
Apple Macintosh ad – Computer for the Rest of Us 2 (1984)
Apple Macintosh ad – Computer for the Rest of Us 3 (1984)
Apple Macintosh ad – Computer for the Rest of Us 4 (1984)
Apple Macintosh ad – Computer for the Rest of Us 5 (1984)
Steve Jobs presents the first 100 Days of Macintosh – Apple II forever Event (1984)
Steve Jobs plays FDR in Apple internal sales video (1984)
Apple Macintosh sales kit video – Selling Macintosh (1984)

In 2004, when the commercial was celebrating its 20th anniversary, Apple released an updated version, in which the heroine was modified to be wearing an iPod. We wonder if Apple has anything up its sleeves to help make 1984 relevant for the iOS era.

Google as Big Brother, anyone?

Related
  • MoxleyQue

    Is it me or does it look like the woman in the still photo above is listening to an iPod classic?

  • Luke Dormehl

    You’re not wrong. It was from the 2004 reissue.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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