Lee Clow: His Masterpiece

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1984

 

zombie                        Cop                        Between takes

To view this amazing 60 second commercial please CLICK HERE and choose your preferred method. Courtesy of www.apple-history.com.

                1984.  The commercial that sparked the Apple launch of the Macintosh back in, well, 1984.  This has been described as, the greatest commercial of all time, the best commercial that almost didn’t air, and of course Clow’s masterpiece.  Shot by Ridley Scott (the director of such films as the Alien trilogy) with a very dark and ominous tone the infamous figure of Big Brother from the novel 1984 would be, via television, speaking to his people.  The masses of course were a sad group of people every one of whom looked almost identical from the grim expression on their faces and shaved heads right down to the grey uniforms.  Big Brother’s voice that served as almost the entire soundtrack to this commercial spoke the following:

             My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time    in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion! We shall prevail!

                It would seem that the people’s future was set in stone.  Until a young woman bearing a sledgehammer and wearing a white Apple Macintosh T-shirt would run into the room being chased by storm troopers.  She then stops and begins to spin throwing a hammer towards the TV and smashing the screen, shedding a great light on the hundreds of followers assembled in the room.  The followers’ faces began to change for the better as they stared into the light and an announcer’s voice spoke over the entire scene explaining, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984.”

                The rumor claiming that the commercial almost never aired is true.  None of the outside board members for Apple liked it.  In fact they demanded that it not be aired.  If it weren’t for the insistence of Steve Jobs during this entire mess this famous commercial never would have made it to a spot in Super Bowl XVIII. 

 Fogging the set                Cardboard zombies                       

    Looking back, one could almost interpret this commercial as a bleak commentary on society.  Maybe it is that and more.  Whatever else this commercial was, it was ultimately great advertising as most readers can remember the sudden interest in Apple computers in the mid-1980s that shocked the PC world into paying a little more attention to their competitors in the field.

All images on this page courtesy of isd.net

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Last updated: 11/03/02.