Secrets behind Apple’s famous ‘1984’ Super Bowl ad that almost didn’t air

“Apple almost didn’t air its iconic, dystopian-themed 1984 Super Bowl commercial, former Apple CEO John Sculley tells Business Insider,” Paige Leskin reports for Business Insider. “The story behind the ad’s production is the subject of the latest episode of Business Insider’s podcast, Household Name. It examines the stories behind how the ad almost didn’t make it on TV, the on-set controversies, and the impact the commercial had on Apple in the 1980s. The Household Name episode, ‘Apple 1984,’ is available on your favorite podcast app.”

“When Apple cofounder Steve Jobs first saw the ad, his reaction was, ‘Oh s–t. This is amazing,’ former Apple CEO John Sculley told Business Insider,” Leskin reports. “Meanwhile, when Apple’s board of directors saw the ad, they hated it. But Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak loved the ad, and told Household Name it was ‘better than any science fiction trailer.’ When he found out the board voted the commercial down, he offered to pay $400,000 out of pocket — half of what it would cost to air the ad during the Super Bowl.”

“The ad almost never ran after the ad agency showed it to focus groups before airing it,” Leskin reports. “People hated the ad, and some said it reminded them of concentration camps. The ad agency decided to hide the results of the focus group instead of showing them to Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Lessons abound: Listen to the founders, not the Board and…

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. — Steve Jobs.


  1. It has recently come to light that Big Brother was modeled after Tim Cook.

    What could be better for people control than wearable tech that requires constant electronic tethering to the mothership? Slowly, by degrees, Tim is ensuring people tracking of everyone.

    1. Of course. Identity the iPhone user who doesn’t wear it in his/her pocket or purse at all times, and you will have your handful of exceptions to the rule. But by design, for all practical purposes, with android and iOS, everyone is being tracked. You would be delusional if you didn’t see how Apple is at the forefront of doing so. Cook guarantees nothing —just platitudes about your privacy.

      Tracking data is what tells Cook he can make more money off stupid emoji than doing the work of making better Mac software. Cook knows what media you watch by tracking so he thinks he will be successful in media production, feeding stories that people want to hear.

      There is a reason Apple wants to make sure iOS and its derivatives cannot have multiple user accounts or guest access, inadequate local storage, and no file system like a Mac. You must establish an account when you first buy the device. It’s all about individual tracking. Exactly the opposite of the image Apple had when Jobs and Woz made personal computers.

      The only personal private computer now is the one that is fully functioning when offline. Unfortunately Apple has put almost no effort there in years. Big Brother thinks you’ll sign up for surveillance services if you simply rebrand it something innocuous like “The Cloud”. It will be interesting to see what happens when it is hacked.

      1. Put on your tinfoil hat, put your iPhone on Airplane Mode, and take a deep breath, Zerorandy.

        I find your diatribe on Apple tracking abuses rather humorous. It almost sounds like Apple invented it, rather than tracking being part of the cellular phone experience from the beginning.

        Indeed, one would think that you are unaware of Apple’s industry-leading role in mobile device encryption, iMessage (texting) encryption, device security using TouchID and FaceID and the embedded Secure Enclave chip, secure token-based transactions using ApplePay…the list goes on.

        If you want to rant about tracking and privacy violations, then start with a world-class offender like Google.

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