Classic Macintosh TV Commercials

The Vintage Mac Museum will be exhibiting again this year at the Vintage Computer Festival East, and I’m planning to bring my trusty Macintosh TV along to the show. As appropriate material to play I decided to put together a compilation of some of my favorite Macintosh TV Commercials from the 68k and PowerPC eras.

The spots included are:

• 1984 SuperBowl Commercial
• 1986 The Power to be Your Best
• 1991 Quadra Revolution
• 1995 Windows 95 Crowd Control
• 1997 Think Different “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”
• 1999 iMac G3 “Colors”
• 2003 iPod Silhouette Dancers
• 2003 PowerBook G4 Big Small
• 2002 Switch “Ellen Feiss”
• 2006 Get a Mac “Better Results”

Besides being enjoyable, the collection shows an interesting journey in advertising focus and style. After a dramatic introduction (1984), Apple focuses on enabling the individual ability to do more with new tools (Power to be Your Best, Quadra Revolution). The mid 1990s saw Apple taking potshots at Windows while marketshare shrank, then a dramatic call in 1997 to “Think Different” after Steve Jobs returned.

The colorful iMacs and musical iPod dancers showed how Apple was becoming friendlier, more than just a computer company. The word Computer was dropped from the corporate name. But the Mac was not (yet) forgotten: a humorous spot for the Big and Small PowerBook G4 computers shows the new laptop designs in a mobile computing market larger than the desktop space.

Following the Think Different campaign Apple ran several different series targeting Windows customers to move Mac: first the series of “Switch” ads (including cult favorite Ellen Feiss), followed by the “Get a Mac” spots with Justin Long and the wonderfully droll John Hodgman as the PC.

Some good stuff, in the days when Apple was still the underdog. And then the iPhone came…

2 responses to “Classic Macintosh TV Commercials”

  1. Hi Adam,

    Success with the exhibition!
    Thanks for the information.

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