On 22 January 1984 Apple changed the world in two ways.
First, it announced to the world that it would soon launch 'Macintosh', the ground-breaking computer which fundamentally changed the way most companies approached consumer PCs.
Second, it released one hell of an advert.
The classic '1984' commercial debuted during Superbowl XVIII, after Steve Jobs gave his team one simple brief: "I want to stop the world in its tracks".
Famously obtuse in form, and directed by Ridley Scott, the advert showed a female runner breaking into a dystopian movie theatre after images of industrial drudgery reminiscent of its namesake and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Once inside, the athlete is shown throwing a hammer into the screen, symbolically smashing the face of the Big Brother-like figure (representing IBM) and unleashing a plume of thick smoke.
Then the commercial fades, and a voice reads: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like “1984.”"
The advert was one of the most expensive ever made, with a budget of $900,000, and was broadcast on daytime television only once, but was repeated endlessly for free on news shows after its dramatic unveiling. Oddly enough, it was broadcast once previously, on a local news station in late 1983, so it would be eligible for that year's advertising awards.
It is now considered a masterpiece, and one of the most successful TV adverts of all time. Here's a great article looking back on the clip by one of the people involved.