January 31, 2009


I wrote a couple days ago about the groundbreaking nature of Apple's "1984" Super Bowl commercial. Today I ran across a website that will help put that in context. The website Adland has collected the commercials from almost every Super Bowl, so I've linked the 1984 Super Bowl list below, as well as a few examples to watch for perspective. Now when watching these, keep in mind that these are Super Bowl ads - ones that should be (though often aren't) the best of the best. Check out the Radio Shack - Bill Bixby ad for a typical computer launch ad from the time. And to be fair, you can also check out the IBM - Charlie Chaplin ad for yet another computer launch ad with a "higher" concept and better production values. But the Apple ad was not just a breakthrough for computer advertising, it was a breakthrough for advertising as a whole. So to broaden the perspective (because an ad is competing with all ads around it, no matter what the subject), check out a few others. Be sure not to miss the Chevrolet Camaro ad. Not only does it feature a snappy jingle and snazzy graphics, but you gotta love the creepy people with glowing Camaro-headlight eyes! I don't know what Chevy's ad people were smoking, but similar themes carry through their entire "taking charge" campaign, from the S-10 Blazer ad to the one for the Celebrity Eurosport. I still remember that "Eeeeeeeeuuuro-sport" jingle. Clearly, jingles were the thing. Check out the ads for Computerland (now there's a jingle!), Eastern Airlines, and McDonald's to help fill in a sense of the state of television advertising in 1984. Now, with those fresh in your mind, go back and watch the Apple ad again and you can truly see how 1984 was not like 1984.
  • Adland: Complete List of 1984 Super Bowl Commercials
  • Adland: Radio Shack bill Bikxby Super Bowl Ad
  • Adland: IBM Charlie Chaplin Super Bowl Ad
  • Adland: Chevy Camaro Taking Charge Super Bowl Ad
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