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Orwellian Apple ad celebrates 25th birthday

The year was 1984 1983...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Apple's iconic 1984 TV ad. And no, we haven't got our math wrong.

Apple's introduction to the Macintosh - widely hailed by the overly-excitable as one of the greatest advertisements in the history of television - did not debut during the nationwide TV feeding frenzy of the 1984 Super Bowl. It first hit the small screen little more than a month earlier, when it aired at one o'clock in the morning on KMVT, Channel 11 in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Without a December debut, Apple and its ad agency, Chiat\Day, couldn't qualify for the season's advertising trophies.

Directed by Ridley Scott - whose feature film credits included Alien and Blade Runner - the ad imagines an Orwellian universe populated by expressionless skinheads dressed in burlap. IBM and the computer establishment are represented by a bespectacled Big Brother figure who says things like "Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth." Meanwhile, Steve Jobs and company are equated with a Melanie Griffith lookalike in very short shorts:

Advertising Age would later name this the "ad of the decade." And in 2004, on the ad's 20th anniversary, Apple would pay homage to itself by equipping the short-shorted hammer thrower with an iPod:

The ad was filmed at London's Shepperton Studios and featured local actors, including Anya Major, the Melanie Griffith lookalike. ®

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