Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1984 - Apple Commercial

There are legends and then there are celestial legends! The 1984 advert of Apple's Macintosh PC is an illustration of such galactic presence. Conceptualized by the trio of Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow of Chiat/Day, Venice, the commercial was directed by 'Hannibal' and 'American Gangster' famed director Ridley Scott.

Right from the first frame, the 58 second ad is set in desiccated blue and black hues showing inanimate people walking in line. The people are being monitored by cameras, a set up scarier than the 'Enemy of the State' concept. Through a mystically lightened tunnel, they approach towards a hall where David Graham (on a big screen) is declaring words connoting dystopia at its best. Amidst the dark proclamation, we spot Anya Major, clad in white tank top with a cubist picture of Apple Macintosh PC, running towards the hall, with a hammer in her hand. While Major is running in the niche Olympic sports style, chased by four security guards of the Orwellian Thought Police cadre; Graham is celebrating the anniversary of 'Information Purification Directives' which imply the doom of 'contradictory thoughts'.

In a Big Brother-ly fashion, Graham announces, “We have created for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!” Alas they couldn't prevail because as soon as he uttered 'prevail', Major hurled the sturdy steal coloured hammer at the screen and it vanished emitting white light.

And while the horde was awestruck at the radiant sight, a voice from the background appeared saying, “ On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984.” The visual fades in and you see Apple's Logo concluding the end of this epic campaign. The first telecast of the advert was on Jan 22, during the third quarter of the Super Bowl XVIII. Later it was telecast twice at two different occasions, once to enable its entry in award ceremonies of that year and then it was screened prior to previews in movie theatres for a weeks.

But the limited telecasts did not deter the boisterous response that the ad received. This commercial, actually titled, '1984', generated $ 5 Million out of free publicity. Viewers fell for it like a guy with a sweet tooth would do for a double chocolate donut! The ad bagged awards from left, right & centre. Now we know why Advertising Age named it the 1980s Commercial of the Decade.