The Macintosh Turns 30 On January 24, and We’ve Assembled 30 Years of Mac Television Commercials To Celebrate.
There aren’t many products on the planet that transformed culture and industries like the Macintosh. The art and science behind the companies growth is undeniably one of the greatest advertising feats in the history of the globe.
Here, we look at how Macintosh television advertising has evolved over the last 30 years. While we were putting this together, we were amazed, as we’re sure you will be, at how it seems the company, it’s vision, and the Mac product was always thinking ahead of it’s time.
1984 : You Guessed It – 1984
One of the most successful commercials in history, this $900,000 ($2 million if you consider inflation) super bowl ad caused a complete disruption in the technology industry. Depicting “the other company” as “the man,” was the strategy. It’s amazing how that line of thinking has continued throughout the rest of the Macintosh advertising commercials you see in the rest of this post.
This ad was so controversial that it generated an estimated $5 million worth of free PR “buzz” on news channels. In addition, the ad created sales of more than 72,000 machines within 100 days of the ad. This smashed estimates by more than 50%.
1985 : The Disturbing Macintosh Office Ad
Suicide depicted in commercials while children are sitting in front of the tube? Apple said, “Yes, please.” Depicting business people as moronic lemmings that were walking off a cliff was a gutsy solution to a challenging message. Apple felt that people who were still using PCs were flat out idiots and they knew most of them had never even thought about looking at one.
Apple was so excited about this super bowl commercial that they ran a huge newspaper campaign with a warning to public about heading to the john during the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, they didn’t experience even close to the same success with this campaign as their 1984 campaign.
1986 : Macintosh Gets Straight Down To Business
The theme started to emerge from Apple in 1986 that it not only wanted business users, but that it has a much better solution. Depicted here by showing the craziness that a business person experiences throughout the day with swamps and alligators, Apple clearly showed that it had the simplest machine for making life easier at work.
1987 : Apple Invents Working From Home
Did Apple invent the home office and maybe even the concept of working from home? After watching this and looking at statistics on working from home, we think it may have. This commercial, clearly directed to a more upscale business consumer who’s working from his beachfront home, showcases an employee coming to “check up” on a co-worker to make sure things are actually getting done. Thanks to the Macintosh, of course they are!
1988 : The Ad From Down Under & Pencil Test
Crack wasn’t the only thing that appeared in 1988 for the first time, so did this television commercial. Well, not exactly. In 1988, any commercials that were to run in Australia, had to be created there. So, this ad is unique in that it wasn’t created by Chiat/Day, the agency successfully responsible for so many great campaigns, then till now.
However, Apple did release a short film that year intended to show off the Apple II’s amazing animation capabilities. The short film was called “Pencil Test.” Here it is:
Wow. How far we have come in animation in just 25 years. If you don’t remember, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, was the biggest animated movie that year and was considered an animation and technological masterpiece. Computer animation didn’t successfully hit movies until 1995 with, “Toy Story.”
Once again, Apple showcased it’s ahead of schedule thinking.
1989 : Change of Heart TV Commercial
Still battling the idea that Apple computers aren’t good for the workplace, Apple started going after the every day business person rather than the executives with this campaign. A woman is shown as being almost irritated about the idea that her boss would have her use a Macintosh.
She then, after being exposed to the product, has a change of heart. Apple has been good at talking people into what they need by getting them to play. Remember all the hype from the now iPad carrying journalists about how the iPad is nothing more than huge useless phone? Does Apple get us more than we get ourselves?
1990 : More Apples Than Any Other Machine
After 6 years, the Macintosh had succeeded greatly in the educational sector world wide. A smart move, in our opinion, as today those kids have grown up and are now demanding Apple computers in their places of business. Maybe there was foresight that this would happen, or maybe it was just a coincidence, but either way, Apple is now an amazingly successful company.
This ad is a resume of sorts that showcases the popularity of Apple’s Macintosh within the educational sector. Oh, and there are even more people in Manhattan on a typical day today than what’s mentioned in the ad from 24 years ago.
1991 : Industrial Revolution
“The walls have come down! Opportunity has come up!”
Apple touted the idea that because of mass production, the previously high priced Apple machine would now be affordable to the masses through this motivational speech.
1992 : No Tech Support Needed
Apple used the downfalls of so many PCs to their advantage. As more software came on the market for the PC and the complexity of those programs grew, the tech support issues did as well. Even today, you hear of the PC’s challenges when it comes to the end users ability to not break anything.
Maybe there IS something to developing your hardware and software within the same team after all.
1993 : Mac Does More & Costs Less
It’s a good thing Steve Jobs wasn’t at Apple while this ad ran. Actually, if he HAD been, it wouldn’t have ran. The 1992 and 1993 campaigns touted the affordability of the machines and put them in the same category as IBM, making them nothing special, really.
This may have been a great idea in theory, but it put the company in a horrific downward spiral of money hemorrhaging.