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Orwellian Apple ad celebrates 25th birthday

The year was 1984 1983...

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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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