The Story Behind “1984″ and Other Classic Super Bowl Ads

Apple’s “1984” Super Bowl ad signaled a new era in personal computers, a revolt against a world portrayed as an Orwellian state dominated by IBM. It also ushered in a new era of Super Bowl advertising where viewers came to expect the ads to be almost as entertaining as the game itself.

The ad, directed by filmmaker Ridley Scott, who had just finished “Blade Runner,” cost nearly $1 million to make, a huge sum for the fledgling computer company. The concept was brainchild of legendary ad man and TBWA/MediaArts chairman Lee Clow, who remembers Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t get involved in the story or the casting. Rather, he just said, “go make it great.”

But “1984” almost didn’t make it on TV at all. In an interview with Advertising Age, Mr. Clow explains why and also why you may never see an ad like it again.

In addition, we’ve interviewed Bryan Buckley, one of the most prolific and clever Super Bowl commercial directors of all time with 42 spots to his name since 1999. Mr. Buckley is responsible for dozens of modern classics that make you laugh with brands like FedEx, Bud Light, Pepsi and many others.

Both interviews are part of a series created for Hulu, “The Art of the Super Bowl Ad,” with the stories behind some of the best Super Bowl ads in history. We hope you enjoy them as you get ready to watch the big game—and the ads in between.


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