Macintosh-launching '1984' Super Bowl advertisement pitch deck surfaces

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited February 4
A newly-published storyboard reveals the imagery used to pitch Apple on what would ultimately become its "1984" Super Bowl ad, teasing the launch of the Macintosh.

1984 storyboard


Drawn by Hank Hinton, the storyboard depicts each shot planned by Apple's ad firm, now known as TBWA\Chiat\Day. Prior to "1984," Jay Chiat was rejecting most of his own firm's concepts, Business Insider said.

After settling on an idea, a nervous ad team presented the storyboard to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and then-CEO John Sculley. Jobs was immediately enthusiastic.

"The first thing was Steve just saying 'Oh s---. This is amazing'," according to Sculley.

The final ad, directed by "Alien" and "Blade Runner" creator Ridley Scott, played on fears in the early 1980s that computers were too big, complex, and/or expensive to be used by the average person, even though the Apple II had been on the market for several years. The Macintosh was Apple's first mass-market computer with a graphical interface and a mouse, making it a success despite a $1,995 initial price tag -- the equivalent of $4,922 today.

Apple spent some $1.5 million on the ad, which only aired once nationally during Super Bowl XVIII, ushering in the era of the prestige Super Bowl spot. Its only other TV appearances were in late-night local spots to qualify for awards, and in news broadcasts that handed the company free publicity.



Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Pity they didn't re-run the ad, would have made for something interesting during the game.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    The story board revealed something interesting to me! One of the frames in the story board (frame #8) looks like a nuclear explosion, but Ridley Scott failed to put the white mushroom cloud at the top. If you have any doubt that it was intended to be a nuclear blast, notice that the last clip in the commercial looks and sounds like a nuclear blast (also in frame #15). So Hinton was thinking nuclear. It's also interesting how the commercial includes the three swirling clouds from the story board along the stem of the mushroom cloud. However Scott interpreted one of the lines (at 0:39 in the Youtube commercial) as coming out of the center of the left cloud, which shows that Scott didn't get the metaphor in the storyboard. He also missed the large shadow of the mushroom cloud from the storyboard. I presume Scott never spoke to Hinton about this hidden meaning. Or perhaps the set was built by someone else and Ridley just had to work with what he got from them. Using Google I searched for this particular image of a mushroom cloud online and found one image that likely inspired it - the top of the mushroom cloud from the second atomic bomb over Japan, which has both the three swirling clouds and the shadow. You can use Google image search and search for Nagasaki Fat Man Mushroom Cloud. Maybe that's why Apple never used this commercial again, they were afraid someone would make the connection with the bomb over Nagasaki. Sorry, Apple. Not really.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,622member
    Story board Big Brother looks like tricky dicky.
    edited February 4
  • Reply 4 of 5
    normmnormm Posts: 548member
    Ridley Scott did a very literal translation of the storyboard.  I always assumed he had more input than that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    The story board revealed something interesting to me! One of the frames in the story board (frame #8) looks like a nuclear explosion, but Ridley Scott failed to put the white mushroom cloud at the top. If you have any doubt that it was intended to be a nuclear blast, notice that the last clip in the commercial looks and sounds like a nuclear blast (also in frame #15). So Hinton was thinking nuclear. It's also interesting how the commercial includes the three swirling clouds from the story board along the stem of the mushroom cloud. However Scott interpreted one of the lines (at 0:39 in the Youtube commercial) as coming out of the center of the left cloud, which shows that Scott didn't get the metaphor in the storyboard. He also missed the large shadow of the mushroom cloud from the storyboard. I presume Scott never spoke to Hinton about this hidden meaning. Or perhaps the set was built by someone else and Ridley just had to work with what he got from them. Using Google I searched for this particular image of a mushroom cloud online and found one image that likely inspired it - the top of the mushroom cloud from the second atomic bomb over Japan, which has both the three swirling clouds and the shadow. You can use Google image search and search for Nagasaki Fat Man Mushroom Cloud. Maybe that's why Apple never used this commercial again, they were afraid someone would make the connection with the bomb over Nagasaki. Sorry, Apple. Not really.
    Interesting observation.  I would've thought of it differently, thinking that maybe Apple didn't want it to be related to the Russian/US arms race or have "to much" fear factor.  It would be great to hear an interview from the entire team from both the agency and Apple. 
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