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1984 Apple's Macintosh Commercial

Cowboy Denny


"1984" is an American television commercial which introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer for the first time. It was conceived by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow at Chiat/Day, Venice, produced by New York production company Fairbanks Films, and directed by Ridley Scott. Anya Major performed as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as Big Brother. Its only U.S. daytime televised broadcast was on January 22, 1984 during and as part of the telecast of the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. Chiat/Day also ran the ad one other time on television, in December 1983 right before the 1:00 am sign-off on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year.

In addition, starting on January 17, 1984 it was screened prior to previews in movie theaters for a few weeks. It has since been seen on television commercial compilation specials, as well as in "Retro-mercials" on TV Land. The estate of George Orwell and the television rightsholder to the novel 1984 considered the commercial to be a flagrant copyright infringement, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple and Chiat/Day in April 1984. The commercial was never televised as a commercial after that.

Back in January 1984, Apple was on the cusp of debuting its successor to both the Apple II and the Lisa - called the Macintosh. But it was a commercial during the Super Bowl that already convinced a bunch of its users to buy one, before it had even been shown in public.

As a break began during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, a George Orwell-inspired ad showed a lady running through a futuristic citadel, all directed by Ridley Scott of Alien and Gladiator. She throws a sledgehammer at a screen, to the shock of its citizens, telling viewers to prepare for the Macintosh.

It was a huge success, and it's due to its ongoing regenerations that you can go to an Apple Store today and look to buy an iMac, a MacBook Pro, a Mac mini and more - they all originated from that day in January 1984.

However, you could argue that the messaging that the commercial gave, brings more relevance now than ever before, due to where Apple is going with the Mac for Apple Silicon chips and rumored plans to take more control over what's inside the iPhone in the coming years.



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