December 15, 1983: 1984 Makes TV Debut

by Chris Seibold Dec 15, 2010

Who can forget Apple's famous 1984 ad? The ad was run as a "pay once, play once" deal exclusively for the 1984 Super Bowl. The reaction was so strong that Apple reaped free advertising on news programs and in movie theaters for months after the ad’s pay-once airing.

That’s a great story, but unfortunately not accurate. The truth is that the Super Bowl airing of the 1984 ad was the second time the spot had been seen on TV. The first time was at 1 A.M. in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Did Apple think there was a high percentage of the Twin Falls' population who would be receptive to the Mac? An undiscovered enclave of would-be GUI enthusiasts who happened to enjoy late night TV? No, the reason for the 1984 ad just before signoff was to qualify for that year’s ad awards. The 1984 ad made its on-air debut on December 15, at 1 AM in 1983.


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