This 60-second commercial was written by Chiat/Day and directed by Ridley Scoot. It was shot in London and to this day remains one of the most popular, most viewed and most talked about commercials of all time. It was influenced by the characters “dystopian future” and “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four The Apple commercial was shown for the first time to a large audience in October of 1983 in Hawaii, and then later broadcasted during the 3rd quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl.
Though shown only once during the Super Bowl, and occasionally in movie theaters, this commercial reached 46.4 percent of all American households that year; making it the first example of event advertising in history. Apple’s “Big Brother” Commercial is credited with starting the yearly desire/trend of showing “event commercials” during the Super Bowls.
Not only did this commercial lead to new commercials for future Super Bowls, but it also lead to the decline in IBM market share. Due to the fear caused by this commercial in the PC market, people started switching from IBM PC’s to Apple’s cheaper, yet more popular PCs, leading to IBM eventually leaving the PC market.
The popularity of this commercial lead it to being named the “Commercial of the Decade” by Advertising Age and in 1999 it was names as one of the “50 Greatest Commercials of All Time” by US TV Guide.
When Steve Jobs commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh in 2004, he opened his speech with the same commercial only slightly updated. In his version, the heroine had an iPod attached to her shorts with the signature white earplugs in her ears. This is a classic example of how the original commercial has been parodied in numerous days since its first showing in January of 1984.
Apple’s “Big Brother” commercial originally aired on January 22, 1984 changing the way America looked at and purchased computers. This commercial played on the idea of IBM dominating the PC market place and stated in a not so sublte way that they were coming in and had plans of taking over. That was clearly understood in their closing line of the commercial, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’”.