Apple’s Super Bowl Commercial – One Singular Sensation


Watching Super Bowl Commercials has become as entertaining as watching the game. And each year there are great new commercial that debut during the game (and plenty of duds as well). But Apple’s first ever TV commercial titled  “Big Brother” which aired during the 1984 Super Bowl, is still regarded as the most effective use of the advertising medium.

Consistent with the Apple brand, it broke many of the time-tested rules regarding advertising: it was long – one full minute; it only aired once (during the Super Bowl) and yet this ad is still talked about today as a masterpiece of advertising. It is one of the greatest marketing/concept ideas in terms of how to launch a product – and do it in such a way that has a tremendous amount of impact.

And because the commercial, which announced Apple’s launch of its Macintosh personal computer, had such inherently strong PR value – people and the news media were talking about it for days – which made the Mac’s launch a tremendous success.

Why didn’t Apple run the commercial again? In fact, running it again would have been counterproductive. Having it appear once made the commercial uber popular – because everyone wanted to talk about it and you were not “with it” if you hadn’t seen it.

Which also goes to show, there really is no hard-and-fast formula about marketing, especially with those media priests who preach that the power of advertising is in repetition. In this instance, repetition was unnecessary because the creative was so powerful in creating a perfect storm of an engaging, timely and unique advertising sensation.

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