Apple's Super Bowl past, present, and future

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
With the 2014 edition of football's biggest game --?and advertising's biggest stage --?approaching, AppleInsider looks back at what Apple and the Super Bowl have meant to each other.

Apple's Super history

Apple opened its Super Bowl advertising career with a bang: the company's iconic "1984" commercial is universally hailed as one of the greatest television ads of all time and its airing is considered by many to be a watershed moment in advertising history. The Ridley Scott-directed ad ushered in a new era of high-dollar, high-concept spots that have so transformed the American landscape that many Super Bowl viewers tune in for the commercials rather than the game itself.

That ad's 1985 followup was markedly less successful. Aiming for the same struggle-for-freedom message of its predecessor, the new spot --?dubbed "Lemmings" --?was startlingly brutal and fell well short of its mark. Featuring a line of people hurling themselves off of a cliff, many potential customers felt insulted by the commercial and it has since been panned by critics as one of the worst advertisements in Apple's history.



Following the infamous firing of company co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple drifted in and out of the Super Bowl throughout the latter half of the 1980s and the 1990s with forgettable results. When Jobs returned in 1997, he reengaged the services of former agency Chiat Day and in the process reunited with legendary adman Lee Clow, one of the creative minds behind the original 1984 spot.

From that reunion came a new commercial starring HAL 9000, the sentient computer from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Aired during Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999, the well-reviewed spot --?in which HAL pokes fun at the Windows Y2K bug --?would be Apple's final appearance in the big game for more than a decade.

The Super Bowl without Apple

With Apple out of the picture, dot-coms became Silicon Valley's flag bearers. Companies such as GoDaddy, Hulu, and Monster took the place of old warhorses like Apple and Xerox.

Search giant Google aired a wordless spot in 2010 that showed a Parisian romance playing out in search queries. Then-independent Motorola took to the airwaves the same year with an ad for their Motorola Blur mobile software starring actress Megan Fox.



In 2013, Samsung joined the fray with "The Next Big Thing," a 60-second spot starring actors Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Bob Odenkirk alongside professional basketball player LeBron James.

Only one technology company --?GoDaddy --?has signed up for 2014, according to early ad buy numbers from AdAge. There are rumors, however, that one tech titan may be plotting a comeback.

Will Apple return?

Apple marks two pearl anniversaries this year: the Mac and its iconic coming out spot both turn 30. The company's celebratory ad blitz has yet to hit the airwaves, but old collaborator Lee Clow has hinted that may change come Sunday.

Gonna be a goodSuper Bowl.
Mac's gonna be 30 :)

-- Lee Clow (@_clow)


"Gonna be a good Super Bowl. Mac's gonna be 30," Clow wrote on Twitter.

If Apple does return to the Super Bowl stage, it will be in a more expensive environment --?the $4 million Fox is reportedly asking for a 30-second slot is nearly twice what Apple is thought to have paid to produce and air the 1984 commercial when adjusting for inflation. Money likely will not dissuade them, though, as $4 million is effectively a rounding error in Apple's $1 billion yearly advertising budget.

Thanks to the company's famed secrecy, it's unlikely that any more details of Apple's plans will leak in the next 48 hours, but one thing is clear: Apple still changes the game, even when they don't show up.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:


    ..the $4 million Fox is reportedly asking for a 30-second slot is nearly twice what Apple is thought to have paid to produce and air the 1984 commercial. 


     

    Wow! I just checked and nearly everything costs at least double what it did in 1984, except computers.

  • Reply 2 of 28
    diegogdiegog Posts: 134member
    When I read the sentence below I immediately thought of Samsungs recent commercials panning their potential new customers (iPhone users waiting in line).

    "That ad's 1985 followup was markedly less successful. Aiming for the same struggle-for-freedom message of its predecessor, the new spot --?dubbed "Lemmings" --?was startlingly brutal and fell well short of its mark. Featuring a line of people hurling themselves off of a cliff, many potential customers felt insulted by the commercial and it has since been panned by critics as one of the worst advertisements in Apple's history. "
  • Reply 3 of 28

    Screen goes black, cello and piano music like their professional product commercials. Cycling between partially lit edges of a square product.

     

    “This will be the last Super Bowl you watch.” 

    “Because the next one… you’ll experience.”

     

     

    The new Apple TV.

    Coming Soon.

    ?

     

  • Reply 4 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Screen goes black, cello and piano music like their professional product commercials. Cycling between partially lit edges of a square product.

     

    “This will be the last Super Bowl you watch.”

     

    “Because the next one… you’ll experience.”

     

    The new Apple TV.

     

    Coming soon.

     

    ?


     

    That would be epic. I practically got goosebumps just envisioning that. 

  • Reply 5 of 28
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mac-Daddy View Post

     

     

    That would be epic. I practically got goosebumps just envisioning that. 


     

    Yep. Same here. 

  • Reply 6 of 28
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,705member
    Screen goes black, cello and piano music like their professional product commercials. Cycling between partially lit edges of a square product.

    “This will be the last Super Bowl you watch.” 
    “Because the next one… you’ll experience.”

    <p style="background-color:rgb(0,0,0);color:rgb(255,255,255);text-align:center;"> </p>

    <p style="background-color:rgb(0,0,0);color:rgb(255,255,255);text-align:center;">[SIZE=20px]The new Apple TV.[/SIZE]</p>

    <p style="background-color:rgb(0,0,0);color:rgb(255,255,255);text-align:center;">[SIZE=20px]Coming Soon.[/SIZE]</p>

    <p style="background-color:rgb(0,0,0);color:rgb(255,255,255);text-align:center;">[SIZE=20px]?[/SIZE]</p>

    <p style="background-color:rgb(0,0,0);color:rgb(255,255,255);text-align:center;"> </p>

    I imagine a hologram steve jobs introducing the new Apple TV. Just take snippets of his other intros and voila, Apple just won the internet.
  • Reply 7 of 28

    Kind of dangerous for Apple to do any coming soon type ads since Samsung will rush whatever they see or rumored to see into production. Then Samsung spouts, 1st to market!!!

  • Reply 8 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bryant NorCal View Post

     

    Kind of dangerous for Apple to do any coming soon type ads since Samsung will rush whatever they see or rumored to see into production. Then Samsung spouts, 1st to market!!!




    Samsung already has a 4k TV. Apple has an experience. Skil's possibility gave me goose bumps.

  • Reply 9 of 28
    I would redo the famous "1984" ad but with a cast of puppies.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    jungmark wrote: »
    I imagine a hologram steve jobs introducing the new Apple TV. Just take snippets of his other intros and voila, Apple just won the internet.

    Did you see the hologram of Tupac? That was almost 2 years ago, the tech must be much better now. One of SJ definitely doable.

    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 11 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,295member
    If Apple could afford $1M in 1984, do the math based on the company's worth then and now to see what Apple could fork out at the same investment level in a Super Bowl ad today... :D
  • Reply 12 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,295member
    Kind of dangerous for Apple to do any coming soon type ads since Samsung will rush whatever they see or rumored to see into production. Then Samsung spouts, 1st to market!!!

    I wouldn't worry. When it comes to tablets and phones, it would be yet another 'First to market' with a product no one apparently actually uses, if web stats are to believed. I can only assume any other junk Scamsung make will also be so cheap it sells in trillions to these strange folks to look at but not actually use too.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "Gonna be a good Super Bowl. Mac's gonna be 30," Clow wrote on Twitter.

     

     

    Yeah I don't think Apple is going to introduce any new products. I think sog35 came closer to the mark – a quick retrospective concluding with a tease of unspecified things to come.

     

    BTW, I watched that Samsung commercial because I had forgotten it. I wish I hadn't done that…:( 

  • Reply 14 of 28

    Personally I think Apple's 1984 ad was fantastic at the time, but looks kinda stupid now.

     

    There's no more IBM, and Apple now occupies the spot of a limited number of almost identical products, all which don't particularly permit user choice. If anything they appear to be saving the world from what they've become.

     

    Kinda pointless me commenting though as the whole 'superb owl' thing is a weird American thing.

  • Reply 15 of 28
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

    I would redo the famous "1984" ad but with a cast of puppies.

     

    Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Tree Purification Directives.

    We have created, for the first time in all history, a public park of purely our scent.

    Where each dog may pee secure from the pests of cats and squirrels.

    Our Unification of Scent is more powerful a weapon than any leash or spray bottle on Earth.

    We are one pack, with one scent, one territory, one bone.

    Our masters shall talk themselves to death and we will bark at them into their own confusion.

    We shall prevail!

     

    *girl empties a bag of Snausages in front of the dogs; they completely lose it*

  • Reply 16 of 28
    jessijessi Posts: 302member

    Apple WILL NOT announce a new product in a TV Spot.   But they will likely do a branding exercise that will reinforce their history like the one posted earlier in the thread.  They do have quite a string of hits over the past 30 years to talk about. 

     

    IF they do a spot, it will be new, and probably interesting, so I hope they do!

  • Reply 17 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post





    I imagine a hologram steve jobs introducing the new Apple TV. Just take snippets of his other intros and voila, Apple just won the internet.

    Steve Jobs, the next Max Headroom?

  • Reply 18 of 28
    comleycomley Posts: 139member
    X
  • Reply 19 of 28

    If they do wanna do an ad and talk about a new product, I would suspect the ad being about 30 years of changing the world, and then something along the lines of "And we're not done.... March 27th 2014"  

     

    (MacWorld)

  • Reply 20 of 28
    Originally Posted by justp1ayin View Post

    (MacWorld)




    Nah, they’re not going back.

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