The Super Bowl ranks as the single most expensive day for advertisers, and this year’s game is fetching as much as $5 million for each 30-second block of ad time.1 Given the pressure to succeed with a great Super Bowl spot, every broadcast has a few clunkers and some will be remembered as game changers (pun intended).
Apple’s “1984” Super Bowl ad that aired on January 22, 1984, during the third quarter of the Super Bowl XVIII between the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins was the game changer for all Super Bowl ads to come.
Here’s the unforgettable ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axSnW-ygU5g
Did you know facts about the Apple “1984” ad2:
- Apple hired the Los Angeles advertising firm Chiat/Day to launch the Macintosh in early 1984.
- The account team was led by creative director Lee Clow, copywriter Steve Hayden, and art director Brent Thomas.
- The concept was inspired by George Orwell’s novel, 1984, in which The Party, run by the all-seeing Big Brother, kept the proletariat in check with constant surveillance by the Thought Police.
- Chiat/Day hired British movie director Ridley Scott who’d perfected the cinematic look and feel of dystopian futures in Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982).
- The 60-second mini-film was shot in one week at a production cost of about $500,000.
- Two hundred extras were paid $125 a day to shave their heads, march in lock-step, and listen to Big Brother’s Stalinist gibberish.
- The commercial never showed the actual computer, but ended with a tease: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”
- Apple’s board members hated it.
- Sculley, the Apple CEO, instructed Chiat/Day to sell back both the 30 and 60-second time slots they’d purchased from CBS for $1 million, but they were only able to unload the 30 second slot.
- Some 43 million Americans saw the ad, and when the football game returned, CBS announcers Pat Summerall and John Madden asked one another, “Wow, what was that?”
- The ad, of course, was a sensation.
Want more? Below are the top 10 Super Bowl ads for the past five years, ranked by Ace Metrix.
1. Budweiser, “Puppy Love,” 2014
2. Budweiser, “Brotherhood,” 2013
3. Budweiser, “Lost Dog,” 2015
4. Doritos, “Slingbaby,” 2012
5. Coca-Cola, “The Catch,” 2012
6. Budweiser, “Hero’s Welcome,” 2014
7. Microsoft, “Empowering,” 2014
8. Bud Light, “Rescue Dog,” 2012
9. Doritos, “Pug Attack,” 2011
10. M&Ms, “Just My Shell,” 2012
Want to vote for the next best Super Bowl commercial for 2016? You can. Check this out: