Apple’s ‘1984’ commercial named best Super Bowl ad ever

“Apple Inc.’s 1984 TV commercial was named the best Super Bowl spot in the game’s 40-year history, a Florida communications company [BCCI] said Wednesday. The Jan. 22, 1984, commercial aired in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, launching the Macintosh personal computer,” UPI reports.

Apple – 1984:

UPI reports, “The commercial, which aired only once, was the best on the basis of impact, sales and viewer memorability, said Bob Circosta, president of [BCCI]. The second-best commercial was Anheuser-Busch Cos. 1989 Bud Bowl, Circosta said. The computer-animated spot featured Budweiser bottles playing a football game against Bud Light bottles. Those two commercials managed to transcend marketing and actually became staples of our American culture, Circosta said.”

Full article here.
In June 1999, TV Guide ran a cover story on the “50 Greatest Commercials of All Time.” Apple’s “1984” ad was #1 on the list. TV Guide wrote:

“With a single airing during Super Bowl XVIII, ‘1984’ did more to change the way ads are created and viewed than any commercial in years. It was not the most heartwarming spot nor a big laugh getter, but it turned a little-known brand into a household name and set a new commercial standard for production values and cinematic style. ‘1984’ also raised the financial stakes: Apple spent a then-outlandish sum of $400,000 to produce the ad and $500,000 to air it; 15 years later, a minute of Super Bowl time costs $3.2 million. Lee Clow, then executive creative director of Chiat/Day, recalls that ‘1984’ almost debuted during a lowlier college bowl game. ‘We had to make a last-minute switch to the Super Bowl because Apple wanted to air the ad closer to the date when the product would actually be available for sale,’ he says. ‘Funny how something that simple could have changed a big piece of advertising history.”

Did you know that Apple’s “1984” commercial, widely credited with starting the Super Bowl advertising craze, actually aired twice? The actual first airing was on a small U.S. local station — KMVT-TV (Twin Falls, Idaho) on December 15, 1983 in the 1:00am sign-off slot — in order for the spot to qualify for 1983 advertising awards.

Apple remastered the famous spot to add in an iPod and showed it at MacWorld Expo in January 2004. “We couldn’t resist,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs:

Related articles:
RUMOR: Apple to launch widescreen multi-touch iPod, Beatles deal via Super Bowl ad – January 19, 2007
Report: Apple to announce iTunes Store deal with The Beatles via Super Bowl commercial – January 17, 2007


  1. MICROSOFT: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…”

    MDN Magic Word: does


  2. It ran more than once.

    The famous “1984” commercial that launched the Macintosh during the Super Bowl in 1984 is purported to have been shown only once; but to qualify for 1983’s advertising awards, the commercial also aired on December 15 at a small TV station in Twin Falls, Idaho, and in movie theaters for weeks starting on January 17th.

    It was shown to a large audience for the first time in October 1983, at Apple’s annual sales conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  3. I did actually see this ad when it aired. It was a “change event” to be certain. Almost immediately, my brother and I figured out how to borrow the money to get one, and soon after started our first “desktop publishing” business.

    MDN word = reaction – This ad caused quite the “reaction” in the advertising community

  4. Truth Decay — Don’t be a f-ckwad. To any captive audience that actually matters, the ad ran only once.

    It’s the very advertisement that initiated the entire concept of “event advertising” and “ad premieres” during the Super Bowl — yet another Apple innovation and contribution to our culture. Think about it: Today, the Super Bowl is virtually a holiday; women gather round for the ads as much as the game itself and there’s something for everybody. Apple played no small part in that.

    Everyone in this country should thank Apple for what they do . . . across a braod spectrum of daily life.

  5. The “1984” commercial had appeal for nearly everyone.

    1. Unabashed disdain for Microsoft and its institutionalized mediocrity.
    2. Infinite hope, optimism, and resistance epitomized by Macintosh.
    3. A delicious babe.

    The Apple resistance is stronger than ever, Microsoft reels under the weight of incompetence and complacency, an attractive woman is always a pleasure.

  6. ConeZone: Speaking of wads, bite me asswipe. I was sharing a bit of trivia on a Mac oriented thread. Not making some huge statement.

    If you don’t like it, skip it. Or are you too freaking stupid to have that ability? Dipshit.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”angry” style=”border:0;” />

  7. My vision of a 2007 commercial. A 35″ LCD, DLP, and/or LED TV that turns out to instead be the next iMac with iSight zooming in to someone on their couch using video iChat.
    If Apple wants to really get into the living room, they are already in place with the iMac. Now that the prices of LCDs are dropping,
    I would purchase a 35″ iMac TV for $2,500. Every other company has to go in reverse order and add the computer to the TV, but with the iMac, HDTV can be added to the computer. The form thickness would still be about the same as today’s new TV’s. All these connecting devices to the living room are cool, but why not just come out with iMac TV with resolution independence in order to see larger menus from 15 feet, the laser Mighty Mouse that tracks on your blue jeans, a zoomable built-in iSight to video conference, auto resolution matching for the TV, and a keyboard with ergonomics that work well on your lap. I can see the emergency board meetings at Dell and HP if/when this thing gets announced.

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