“Who The F@ck’s Steve Jobs?” Ridley Scott Recalls Apple’s Epic “1984” Ad That Took The Brand Global

“Who The F@ck’s Steve Jobs?” Ridley Scott Recalls Apple’s Epic “1984” Ad That Took The Brand Global

Famed British director Ridley Scott has opened up on one of the most famous ads in history – Apple’s “1984” ad that aired during the Super Bowl that same year and turned the computer company into a household name (and, just recently, the world’s first $US3 trillion company.)

The dystopian spot – named after Orwell’s fabled book – introduced the world to the Macintosh computer and the rest, as they say, is history.

At the time, the then 47-year-old Scott had made his name as arguably one of Hollywood’s hottest directors with box office hits such as 1977’s Alien and 1982’s Blade Runner under his directing belt.

According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, when asked to direct the Apple ad by creative agency agency Chiat/Day, Scott initially thought the ad was for The Beatles as the band’s record label at the time was Apple Records.

Scott recalled: “They said, ‘No, no, no. Apple is this guy called Steve Jobs.’ I went, ‘Who the fuck is Steve Jobs?’ They said, ‘It’s probably going to be something.'” Scott read the script and thought, “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.”

Re-live the epic ad here.

The spot reportedly cost $US900,000 to make – including air time and about $US4 million in today’s money – which was an unheard of amount for an ad at the time. To save on costs, Scott enlisted local skinheads to portray the “drones” in the ad.

In 1985, the Clio Awards added the work to its Hall of Fame, naming the spot in the top 50 greatest ads of all time.

According to reports at the time, Steve Jobs and then Apple CEO John Sculley loved the idea for the ad so much they went ahead and bought 90-seconds of extremely expensive ad time during the Super Bowl before the rest of the Apple board had seen it.

However, the board rejected it, and instructed ad agency Chiat/Day to sell the slot. Steve Wozniak (inventor of the Mac) liked it so much he offered to pay half the cost of airing it if Jobs would pay the other half. This turned out to be unnecessary: Chiat/Day had sold 30 seconds of the slot but didn’t even try to sell the other 60 seconds.

The ad ran, and turned out to be its only appearance ever on national television (it had been quietly aired in late-night slots on local stations in order to qualify for various ad awards). It was subsequently rebroadcast countless times on TV news, netting Apple millions of dollars worth of free press and exposure.




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