Twenty-five years ago an upstart “personal computer” company in Cupertino, CA, ran an ad that bet the entire year’s ad budget on one buy and one production. After the spot was bought and the ad produced, the board of directors unanimous opposition nearly resulted in its cancellation.
The result is consumer marketing history. If you had to pick one broadcast effort that caught lightning in a bottle, it would be “1984”.
Long enshrined in the advertising hall of fame, the creative product of agency chiat/day and director Ridley Scott’s darkly fertile imagination – obvious in hindsight when watching 1982’s cult classic “Bladerunner” – is still being viewed today, as fresh as the day it first aired.
Officially this was a one-shot air date. In reality, the cost per view is now measured in nano-dollars, thanks to the internet, and the iconic content is the holy grail of marketeers in search of breakthrough, viral and recall.
It would be five years before I had a Mac in front of me, a beige 512k brick at a Houston agency.
That year, Tampa’s first Superbowl was played just across the bridge and featured my favorite team back when I was still concerned with outcome – the gritty bad boy “Just Win, Baby” Raiders of Stabler and Sistrunk and Casper fame – clocked the ‘Skins on the arm of Jim Plunkett and the running of Marcus Allen. On Sunday it’ll all play out again, but safe to say there will never be another “1984”.