Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Rebelling against conformity

A minimalist advertisement marked the launch of one of the most iconic brands of all time. And yet, the product was never shown on screen

The biggest brands may have had the smallest starts. Steve Jobs started Apple Computer in a garage in Silicon Valley. But Jobs knew what he has designed was going to change the world of computers and the first advertisement showed the confidence he had.

Now known in advertising circuits as just ‘1984’, it was aired on television only twice—the last time during the 1984 Super Bowl telecast. The commercial opens with an almost Black Mirror-like industrial setting, showing a queue of people marching in unison through a tunnel, supervised by a row of television screens. It cuts to a girl, played by athlete Anya Major, running and throwing a sledgehammer towards a screen while hundreds of disciplined employees look on. It ends with a voice announcing: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984".

The only image of a computer is a line drawing on Major’s T-shirt. And yet, this is considered one of the most iconic advertisements of all time. Later, interpreters dissected the commercial as a means of saving humanity from “conformity"—as seen in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

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