"1984" is an American television commercial which introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer for the first time. It was conceived by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow at Chiat/Day, Venice, produced by New York production company Fairbanks Films, and directed by Ridley Scott. Anya Major performed as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as Big Brother. Its only U.S. daytime televised broadcast was on January 22, 1984 during and as part of the telecast of the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII by CBS. Chiat/Day also ran the ad one other time on television, in December 1983 right before the 1:00 am sign-off on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year. In addition, starting on January 17, 1984 it was screened prior to previews in movie theaters for a few week. It has since been seen on television commercial compilation specials, as well as in "Retro-mercials" on TV Land.
In one interpretation of the commercial, "1984" used the unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top with a stylized line drawing of Apple’s Macintosh computer on it) as a means of saving humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother). These images were an allusion to George Orwell's noted novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised "Big Brother". The rows of marching minions have direct cinematic parallels with those in the opening scenes of the classic dystopian film Metropolis. The estate of George Orwell and the television rightsholder to the novel 1984 considered the commercial to be a copyright infringement and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple and Chiat/Day in April 1984.
Originally a subject of contention within Apple, it has nevertheless consistently been lauded as a classic, winning critical acclaim over time. It is now considered a watershed event and a masterpiece in advertising, and is widely regarded as one of the most memorable and successful American television commercials of all time.
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