World’s best ads ever #3: Apple’s ‘1984’ shows nothing, yet achieves everything
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
The Apple board hated this ad. Viewers in test groups hated this ad. Some called it the worst of all time. So, of course, Apple’s ’1984’ promoting the launch of its Macintosh computer has gone on to become arguably the greatest of all time.
Famed director Ridley Scott described his reaction upon reading the script. He told The Hollywood Reporter: “My God. They’re not saying what it is. They’re not showing what it is. They’re not even saying what it does. It was advertising as an art form. It was devastatingly effective.” (He also admitted that when he heard the name Apple, he thought he was going to be working for The Beatles.)
Other reactions weren’t so favorable. Despite Steve Jobs and John Sculley eagerly approving a 90-second Super Bowl spot, the Apple board demanded that the time be sold back. Steve Wozniak offered to split the cost with Jobs because he loved it so much. Ultimately media planner MT Rainey was one of the key voices who helped convince Apple to run the ad during the Super Bowl. The rest is Apple and advertising history.