The world doesn’t really need another blog post about Apple’s ‘1984’ spot, does it?
Every year at around Superbowl time, there are a glut of stories—mostly in ad trade publications—about Apple’s most famous and now nearly thirty year old ad. There were certainly big budget Superbowl ads before ‘1984,’ but that spot had a lot to do with defining what the big budget superbowl spot came to be. High concept. Pure branding. Huge budget. It’s one of the standards against which other Superbowl ads are judged, and a template for others to follow. Heck, Motorola’s Xoom ad from this year was practically a remake of it.
But even if you’re sick of reading or hearing about ‘1984,’ Steve Hayden’s recent piece in Adweek is a fascinating read. Because it’s easy to forget that when they presented ‘1984’ to Apple’s board, everybody on the board of directors hated it and was convinced it would fail. They wanted to fire the ad agency. They demanded that they cancel the expensive superbowl ad buy. And you don’t have to have been there to guess the main reason why: where is the product? Who’s going to buy a computer they haven’t even seen?
So what if Apple’s superbowl spot in ‘1984’ was more like Apple’s ads in 1993—what if the the board killed ‘1984’ and they ran what the board wanted to run: a straightforward product-benefit spot that highlighted the product’s features?
It should give anyone who thinks Apple will be the same company without Steve Jobs’ brave, visionary leadership pause for thought.