Historical Analysis of Apple 1984

Throughout the decades, Apple Inc. has been synonymous for its innovative and iconic advertisement methods.  This particular Apple Macintosh advertisement initially first aired during the 1984 Superbowl.  The captivating actions of monotony, sameness, and routine are ultimately said to be broken with the release of the latest Macintosh processor.  The rupture between these uniform conditions takes place with the literal breakdown of old versus new.  The use of colors and gender specificity are some of the most prominent and eye catching aspects of the advertisement.  The 1984 advertisement provides little knowledge of the good itself, its function, or its price.  Instead, this ideology that 1984 will not be like “1984,” leaves viewers curious and eagerly waiting for the January 24th product release.

This is a prime example of what Leiss denotes as a “cultural intermediary,” many consumers can connotate feelings and specific meanings with Apple products.  In 1984, many did not foresee the cultural revolution that was a direct result of the push for the Macintosh processor, leading to the ongoing debate: MAC vs. PC decades later.  According to William Leiss, this notion of demassified markets “demassification further secured the industry’s reliance on lifestyle targeting and, along with the expansion of globalization,” (265).  Apple Inc is the prime example of not only a lifestyle choice but also how the brand’s image goes global.  Throughout the years Apple has created a product revolution, and now several of its advertisements includes this notion of creating a lifestyle for their ideal consumer.  Historically, Apple has become a major contender in this idea of “creating lifestyles” versus just being a product in someone’s life…it has become someone’s way of everyday life.  In return, reaffirming to the consumer feelings of security, and giving them a place to relate to.

The 1984 advertisement is pitted amidst a historical shift, literally juxtaposes this traditional (grey, manufacturing) style towards a post-industrial society a female literally running and moving Apple into a new era.  This conflict depicted between old and new technologies poses consumers with a need to want to progress and move forward into the new era with a brand they could trust.  Simultaneously, the transformational functions of advertising are clearly depicted throughout the 1984 ad, a product which is promised to literally transform the way consumers, use, and interact with a specific type of technology.  All of these criteria are met by the introduction of the new Macintosh computer.  And although Apple does not fully expand on how this product works it promises a change in the way people interact with technology.  Apple products can mean a variety of things to the public, but this progressive shift from the mundane towards a world of individuality and progress could be debated.  With the popularity of Apple and the technological revolution it has created, have “we” gone back to the sameness seen in the 1984 ad, was this a premonition to the future?

– G.C.

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