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.
Steve Jobs "Crazy Ones"
This never before aired version of the "Crazy Ones" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/steve-jobs-think-different_n_998003.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003" target="_hplink">commercial is narrated by Steve Jobs</a>.
Print ad from 1981 foreshadowing Apple's use of famous historical figures in their 1990s "Think Different" campaign.
"A Is For Apple"
Print ad from 1977, prior to the launch of Apple's Macintosh.
This now critically acclaimed commercial by Ridley Scott, which aired on January 22, 1984 during Super Bowl XVIII, was the world's introduction to the Apple Macintosh Personal Computer.
Print ad from April 1984 explaining the inner workings of the Macintosh.
This 1985 commercial was a less successful follow up to "1984." It first aired during Super Bowl XVIV
"The Computer For The Rest Of Us"
"The computer for the rest of us" campaign of the late 1980s continued to build on Apple's brand "by portraying the Mac as embodying the values of righteous outsiderism and rebellion against injustice," <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2002/12/56677" target="_hplink">wrote <em>Los Angeles Times</em> columnist Charles Pillar</a>.
"Who Needs A Computer Anyway?"
Little known circa 1989 Apple campaign featuring cartoons from <em>The Simpsons</em> creator Matt Groening.
"What's On Your Powerbook?"
This early 1990s campaign continued to emphasize individuality by having seeming opposites in the same ad both using a Powerbook.
This ad featuring narration from actor Richard Dreyfuss first aired in 1997 in conjunction with Apple's "Think Different" print campaign.
This campaign launched September 28th, 1997 and featured photos of visionaries, thinkers, leaders, artists and inventors including Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lennon, Martha Graham, Muhammad Ali, Alfred Hitchcock, Mahatma Gandhi, Jim Henson, Maria Callas, Picasso and others.
iMac print ad from the late 1990s.
This campaign launched June 10th, 2002 intended to get people to "switch" to Apple by featuring a series of "real people" explaining they preferred their Mac over PCs.
"Get A Mac"
This is the first ad from the now famous "Get a Mac" campaign. <a href="http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/apples-get-mac-complete-campaign-130552?page=1" target="_hplink">It first aired in May 2006.</a>
"Thanks A Billion"
iPhone print ad from 2009.
"Get A Mac"
A "Get A Mac" spot from October 2009.
This commercial from 2010 accompanied the launch of iPhone 4 and Facetime, allowing users to video chat from practically anywhere.