Lost Ancient Apple Ad Explains A Lot, Actually

Apple never let it air, worrying that it was too “self-congratulatory.” Today, though, it feels strikingly familiar.

Original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld, now a Googler, posted a previously (nearly) unseen 1983 Apple ad on Google+:

Here’s a rare commercial for the original Macintosh that Chiat-Day made in the fall of 1983, featuring snippets from interviews of the design team. It never aired because Apple deemed it too self-congratulatory, although it was used in some promotional materials sent to dealers.

Shortly thereafter, Apple released a vastly different kind of ad: Ridley Scott’s dystopic, and now iconic, 1984 spot. The ads were created within months of one another by Chiat/Day, the ad firm Apple still uses, suggesting that they were created as part of the same campaign.

Apple doesn’t make 1984-style ads anymore, but videos like this have become a staple. Whoever shot down the video for being too “self-congratulatory” clearly either left the company or, assuming it was Jobs, came around to the ad guys’ thinking:

We see videos like that and assume they’re very Apple-y, but I think maybe they’re just very Chiat/Day-y. The two companies have been working together long enough that it’s kind of hard to tell where one starts and the other begins.

Another thing: The video refers to these guys as “wizards,” which was an actual job title at Apple for years. I’d read about that plenty of times before and never really thought anything of it, but now it occurs to me that maybe we should blame Apple for the awful epidemic of “ninjas” in Silicon Valley. Basically cancels out the iPhone, IMO.

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