Today in Apple history: Mac’s ‘1984’ ad debuts in theaters

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Before it won the Super Bowl, Apple's iconic Mac ad invaded theaters.
Photo: Chiat/Day/Apple

Jan17 January 17, 1984: A week before its famous appearance during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic “1984” ad debuts as a pre-movie trailer in theaters.

To sell its revolutionary new Macintosh computer, Apple buys several months of ad time from theatrical ad distributor ScreenVision. The sci-fi-tinged spot gets such a favorable reaction from audiences that some theater owners continue to roll the ad after Apple’s contract comes to an end.

Sci-fi novel that inspired Apple’s iconic Mac ad is hitting the big screen

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Apple's vision of a possible 1984-style dystopian future. Photo: Apple
Apple's vision of a possible 1984-style dystopian future. Photo: Apple

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my favorite dystopian sci-fi novels, and according to Hollywood magazine Deadline, it’s about to be brought to the screen courtesy of the Jason Bourne movies’ director Paul Greengrass.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Nineteen Eighty-Four tells the story of a surveillance heavy future (well, technically the past at this point) in which an everyman named Winston Smith rebels against an all-knowing government in an age of omnipresent surveillance and perpetual war.

Marketing Guru Behind Apple’s 1984 Ad Believes It Was More Successful Than The Mac Itself

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Apple’s infamous 1984 advertising campaign for the original Macintosh needs little introduction from myself. The one-minute clip, which was inspired by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four novel and depicts IBM users as mindless followers, was a huge success. So much so that the marketing guru behind it, Regis McKenna, believes it was more successful than the Macintosh itself.