Apple intros Macs with “1984” ad, January 22, 1984

-January 22, 2017

During the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl XVIII, Apple premiered its “1984” commercial to a mass audience introducing Macintosh computers.

The ad had run once a few weeks before in December 1983 right before the 1:00 am sign-off on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, so that it could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year.  It had also been screened prior to previews in movie theaters starting on January 17, 1984.

 The commercial is considered to be a masterpiece in advertising. Most interpret the commercial’s unnamed heroine as representing the coming of the Macintosh and a computing revolution. She wears a white tank top with a drawing of a Macintosh as she runs from guards to save humanity from conformity and Big Brother.

Images from the commercial are considered to be an allusion to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised Big Brother. The allusions were so well done that the estate of George Orwell and the television rights holder to the novel sent Apple a cease and desist order in April 1984.

Its Super Bowl broadcast was the only daytime showing of the commercial.

The commercial was rebroadcast in an updated version in 2004 with the heroine modified to be listening to an iPod.

The commercial ends with the only note of the new computer (other than the drawing on the heroine’s shirt) when a voiceover says: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984.”

The screen fades to black as the voiceover ends, and the rainbow Apple logo appears.

Watch the commercial below:

Also see:

For more moments in tech history, see this blog.
EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on January 22, 2013 and edited on January 22, 2017.

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