Benedict Cumberbatch’s SNL toilet ad pokes fun at Apple

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And it comes in Jet Black, too.
Photo: SNL

Whether it was Slack’s CEO last week or SNL this past weekend, it seems the world can’t go more than a few days without paying homage to an iconic piece of Apple marketing.

In a new sketch for Saturday Night Live, none other than Benedict Cumberbatch stepped up to the plate bowl to offer a take on a futuristic toilet ad, which looks suspiciously like Ridley Scott’s “1984” ad for the original Macintosh.

Check it out below.

What happened to Apple’s marketing magic?

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When will we see another "1984?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Chances are you can vaguely remember the last Apple ad you saw, but do you remember it in the same way you remember the company’s “1984” commercial for the original Macintosh, or its wonderful “Think Different” campaign? It’s been a while since we saw anything quite as iconic.

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2Apple still creates great commercials we can’t help but talk about, but many fans would say those ads aren’t as good as they once were. Has Apple lost its marketing magic, or is it just too difficult to create truly iconic ads in the digital age?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over these questions and more!

John Sculley drew ‘Mac phone’ concept for Steve Jobs in 1984

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John Sculley drew a 'Mac phone' concept for Steve Jobs back in the 80s.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

Former Apple CEO and business parter of Steve Jobs, John Sculley dropped some interesting new tidbits about Apple’s history in a recent interview. He said that all the way back in 1984, Jobs was dreaming up the idea of a “Mac phone.”

This “Mac phone” would be a desktop device that acted as a phone, but ran a version of the Mac’s software.

New stoner ad from Ben & Jerry’s parodies an Apple classic

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This one's coming out on 4.20. Yes, that's intentional. Photo: Ben & Jerry's
This one's coming out on 4.20. Yes, that's intentional. Photo: Ben & Jerry's

Is this a new era of marketing directly to stoners?

In Ben & Jerry’s new ad for its in-shop confection, the Brrr-ito, a young woman wearing an ice cream server’s uniform runs into a room of slack-jawed young men staring at a screen showing a boring old ice cream bar.

What happens next should be no surprise to those of you who remember Ridley Scott’s famous ad for Apple in 1984 introducing the Mac.

31 years ago today, Apple won the Super Bowl

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The Big Brother-like leader in the Super Bowl commercial that introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer. Photo: Apple/YouTube
The Big Brother-like leader in the Super Bowl commercial that introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer. Photo: Apple/YouTube

During the third quarter, a referee blew the whistle to signal a timeout. What happened next, signaled the beginning of a sizemic shift in our lives.

But if you left the couch for beer and snacks at that moment of the 1984 Super Bowl, you may have missed the first run of a commercial that made more history than the game itself (sorry Oakland Raiders, 38-9 winners over the Washington Redskins).

On this date 31 years ago, Apple aired a commercial introducing the world to the first MacIntosh personal computer. It was the feature of Today in Media History on the Poynter Institute website.

Apple’s New Mac Video Wins The Super Bowl Ad Contest Without Even Trying

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Apple was notably absent from the Super Bowl ad slots Sunday, but a new video touting the Mac’s transformative power is quickly making Cupertino the most talked-about company the morning after the big game. The impressive clip continues the Mac’s 30th-anniversary celebration, and it was shot entirely on iPhones in 15 locations across five continents.

Remembering 30 Years Of Mac, This Week On The CultCast

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128K of RAM? Who could use it all?! We celebrate 30 years of Mac and remember some vintage models of yore on our newest CultCast. Plus, Google Contacts will make you a cuter nerd; Beats music has a feature others should copy; Jailbreaking is losing its luster; and a trusty iOS app makes watching unsupported video formats a cinch.

Enjoy a few laughs whilst getting caught up on each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the audio adventure begin.

Thanks to FreshBooks for supporting this episode! FreshBooks is the simple cloud accounting solution that’s helping thousands of new entrepreneurs and small business owners save time billing and get paid faster. Sign up free today.


Watch Steve Jobs Introduce the Macintosh on January 24, 1984

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On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh.

Back in 1984, the birth of the Macintosh was not a quiet affair. Among his many talents, Steve Jobs was one of the great orators and inspiring speakers of our time. Part sage, part showman, Jobs combined the wizardry of a magician with the skills of a master salesman. The Macintosh was his baby, the intended salvation for Apple, and he wanted it launched with flair.

Many people have heard about, but not seen, one of the most influential demos of all — the actual unveiling of the Macintosh on January 24, 1984. In front of a group of Apple shareholders and VIPs, and giving a hint of Apple keynotes to come, a tuxedo-clad Jobs and his magical child stole the show. Now you can relive that glorious moment.

What’s The Meaning Of The Macintosh Turning 30?

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The Mac at 30
On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer introduced Macintosh.

Thirty years ago, Apple Computer introduced Macintosh.

The computing universe was far different back then, and this groundbreaking little computer represented a major change from the status quo. Appealing to creativity and emotion, the Mac introduced the world at large to the Graphical User Interface, the mouse, and a computer that was friendly and non-intimidating. Many of those ideas became new industry paradigms and survive with us to this day.

Computers come and go, it’s a fast changing industry and the pace accelerates every year. But the Mac as a brand has survived 3 decades. This is notable for any product and unheard of for computers! Why, what’s so special? What’s the meaning of the Macintosh turning 30?

At its core, beyond basic utility, the Mac’s appeal to many people is that it has always been a device that people want to use, rather than something that you have to use. People get attached to their Macs the same way they get attached to their cars or favorite bands. You remember your first Macintosh – where you were at the time and what it meant to you. That was true with the original Mac in 1984, and it’s still true today. Macs aren’t just tools, but visceral parts of our lives.

‘Macintosh’ is more than a brand. It’s a word that equates computers with usability, form and function. ‘Macintosh’ is a trigger – a word that evokes a particular time in many peoples lives who were just getting into computers at college, introducing computers into their business for the first time. It’s always interesting to see how people refer to their Windows machines. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘I loved my old Windows laptop,’ but I’ve heard from countless people on the fond memories of their old Mac. Jonathan Zufi – Author of Iconic, a book about Apple design.

A funny thing happens when you design a computer everyone can useThe Macintosh philosophy from the beginning has been computer as appliance. Plug it in, turn it on and get working. The industrial design of the computer and the graphic design of the software were designed to let you focus on your work, your output, your creativity.

The interface was intended to mimic a typical office so that you didn’t have to learn esoteric things like filesystems and text commands; instead you had a desktop, files and folders. The mouse allowed you to point at and interact with objects onscreen, and edited text was formatted as you watched in real time. You could name documents with more than 8 characters and using punctuation marks. That was revolutionary to most people.

It appealed to artists. It appealed to writers. It wasn’t just for geeks. It was the Computer for the Rest of Us.

I remember the thrill and the delight of using the Mac for the first time as a teenager. It was like playing with the iPhone for the first time; a total revelation. The interface was so natural, so easy to use. You didn’t need to be shown how to use it. You could figure it out yourself. That’s been Apple’s genius of course, all these years; to create interfaces that anyone can use without having to crack a manual. Leander Kahney – Cult of Mac

The original Macintosh design team made a lot of good technical choices, and many of their implementations remain in use to this day. Prior to the Mac, concepts like the Graphical User Interface and hand-held pointing devices existed only in the realms of research labs and high-end workstations. Easy printing and networking capabilities came standard with the Mac, and soon PostScript, PageMaker and the LaserWriter defined an industry.

Think about the graphical tool icons used in MacPaint, or the “marching ants” box around an object to signify selection – these items are so ingrained into our computing culture that we sometimes forget they debuted on the Macintosh in 1984!

This is a testimony to the insights and vision of Steve Jobs. He and the Macintosh Division got a lot right the first time. This is similar to the Porsche 911. It’s going on fifty this year. How many car models have gone on for fifty years? Guy Kawasaki — former Macintosh Evangelist

The Mac-PC wars are long over. Choosing a computing platform these days is like choosing a brand of automobile; they all get you where you want to go, so you choose on aesthetics, design details and performance. A saying I’m fond of repeating to my clients is: with Macs you spend more time using the tool, and less time keeping the tool running. And unless you’re a computer geek, that’s an important thing.

iMac - hello (again)When Jobs came back to Apple his first new product was the iMac. A simple computing appliance, easy to use and pleasant to look at – the original Macintosh design concept modernized. It’s now the Honda Accord of computers, a stable product line with various changes throughout the years. Elegant, reliable and practical.

But not all Macs are family sedans. From the wicked fast Mac IIfx to the latest Darth-Vader Mac Pro, Apple can build muscle cars when it wants to. And sports cars – from the Powerbook to the MacBook Air, Apple’s portables define the computers you take with you.

In the Jony Ive era, style returned with a vengeance. Colorful computers, beautiful computers, thin and sleek. They look good in the home, objects d’art, as much as tools for work. But most importantly, they are still not intimidating. We really want to touch them.

Macintosh has survived so long because great ideas like great art or great music are timeless. Steve Jobs often likened the team’s creation to a work of art going so far as having the Macintosh team autograph the case as such. While the first Macintosh’s hardware was limited, Jobs’ vision was not. Eventually, the hardware and software would catch up to that vision and Macintosh would change computers forever. James Savage — RetroMaccast

Three decades later the modern Apple continues the legacy. The software has evolved with the hardware, and the modern Mac runs a very modern and stable variant of UNIX at its core.

Device dimensions have been drastically miniaturized while performance is maximized. iPhone and iPad, the offspring of Macintosh, take the computer fully mobile, utilizing direct touch controls to become even more integral parts of our lives.

That’s the thing about Apple products: these devices touch people lives. We like using them, we like owning them. Thirty years from now people will remember how they felt getting their first iPhone or iPad, or their first MacBook Air.

Can you say the same about your washing machine?

The Mac has lasted for 30 years because it set the standard. It showed the world how computers should work. And the same is true for the iPhone and iPad. They set the standard for multitouch tablets and phones. They’ll be around for the next 30 years; and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mac is too. Leander Kahney – Cult of Mac

So what’s the meaning of the Mac turning 30? If you create something you love, execute it well, make it truly useful, and design it to be appealing, you can indeed change the world.