30 Years Of Apple Ads


Apple has always been a company that did marketing on steroids. If you get a chance, read Steve Jobs biography, particularly to learn about the Apple commercial that aired once. Some background from Wired:

Androgynous, drone-like humans march in unison as a Big Brother-like figure tells them it’s time to “celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives.”

Whatever that is, it can’t be good. But then a woman with orange short shorts and an even shorter haircut appears out of nowhere, running headlong into this dystopian universe, a look of determination etched on her face and a hammer clutched in her hands. Her white tank top bears the image of some boxy computer with an apple placed strategically to one side. And yes, she chucks that hammer at Big Brother.

This is Apple’s “1984″ ad, which aired during the Super Bowl that same year.

Yes, it plays off George Orwell’s 1984. Big Brother is IBM, and the woman with the orange shorts is, you guess it, the Apple Macintosh. She is a beacon of freedom, creativity, and innovation. She is the antithesis of the mind-numbing monochromatic stuff that inhabits IBM’s dystopia. She is a GUI interface.

In the 1980s, you see, IBM was still the most powerful computer company on the planet, and Steve Jobs didn’t like that. “IBM wants it all and it’s aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple,” Jobs said just a year earlier at the General Meeting of the Boston Computer Society. “Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry, the entire information age? Was George Orwell right?”

It was no surprise, then, that the woman in the orange shorts hurled her hammer at Big Brother, just as he was boasting that his mighty empire would prevail forever. The impact sets off some kind of nuclear blast, leaving Big Brother’s brainwashed minions frozen in their colorless jumpsuits. “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’,” the ad tells us.

That’s a hard act to follow. But there was more to come — much, much more.

Here’s the ad:

Check out the others that Wired has.