1984 (advertisement)

1984 American television commercial directed by Ridley Scott / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"1984" is an American television commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer. It was conceived by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow at Chiat/Day, produced by New York production company Fairbanks Films, and directed by Ridley Scott. English athlete Anya Major performed as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as Big Brother.[1] In the US, it first aired in 10 local outlets,[2] including Twin Falls, Idaho, where Chiat/Day ran the ad on December 31, 1983, at the last possible break before midnight on KMVT, so that the advertisement qualified for the 1984 Clio Awards.[3][4][5] Its second televised airing, and only US national airing, was on January 22, 1984, during a break in the third quarter of the telecast of Super Bowl XVIII by CBS.[6]

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Still image from the advertisement
Directed byRidley Scott
Written by
CinematographyAdrian Biddle
Edited byPamela Power
Fairbanks Films, New York
Distributed byApple Computer Inc.
Release dates
December 31, 1983 (local broadcast in Idaho)
January 22, 1984 (only national broadcast)
Running time
1 minute
CountryUnited States
Budget$370,000 $900,000

In one interpretation of the commercial, "1984" used the unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top with a stylized line drawing of Apple’s Macintosh computer on it) as a means of saving humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother).[7] These images were an allusion to George Orwell's noted 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised "Big Brother". The estate of George Orwell and the television rightsholder to the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four considered the commercial to be a copyright infringement and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple and Chiat/Day in April 1984.[8]

Originally a subject of contention within Apple, it has subsequently been called a watershed event[9] and a masterpiece[10] in advertising. In 1995, The Clio Awards added it to its Hall of Fame, and Advertising Age placed it on the top of its list of 50 greatest commercials.[11]

In January 1984, Apple also launched the inventé advertisement for Macintosh in France.[12]