Before Apple was Apple.


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With the Super Bowl looming just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the “Grand-Daddy of Today’s Super Bowl Extravaganzas”–Apple’s “1984” commercial.

Folks in our business tend to view “1984” with an almost religious reverence. They’ll say “This is the spot that made Apple the major player it is today!”

While I hate to rain on a good story, this is a bit of revisionist history.

While most would agree that piece of advertising was brilliant in just about every sense of the word, the spot reflected who Apple is now, not who Apple was then. In 1984 (and for several years afterward), MacIntosh was derided as a “toy” computer that wasn’t practical for business purposes, despite sporting cool new features like the mouse and the graphic user interface, Hardly any software was created for it. It was grossly underpowered. And it was way more expensive than IBM’s or Compaq’s rival PCs.

Truth be told, it wasn’t until the rise of the desktop publishing era later in the decade that the Mac found its niche.

It’s important to note that while Apple initially didn’t deliver on the promise of “1984,” over time it definitely did. The spot was pure aspiration. It was a line in the sand, a gauntlet thrown down, a true “vision statement” for the company and the brand. The spot basically communicated, “Apple is the company that produces technology products built around the user’s needs. Apple stands for technology you WANT to use.”

In many ways, the vision of Apple from the mid-80s, given its products’ capabilities, was quite audacious. It is precisely this audaciousness that can keep an organization and a brand moving in the right direction.

The aspirational aspect of building a brand should never be underrated.

And on a strictly personal note, go Niners.

Posted by Mickey

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mickey Lonchar
Mickey Lonchar has spent the better part of two decades creating award-winning advertising with agencies up and down the West Coast, Mickey currently holds the position of creative director with Quisenberry Marketing & Design, a full-service advertising and interactive shop with offices in Spokane and Seattle, Wash.


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