One of the best ad moments history must have been the Apple boardroom in the first minutes after the infamous “1984″ ad was aired.
Lee Clow and Thomas Hayden had a hand in creating the ad, and the scene they described sounds like it was cut from a Spinal Tap-style mockumentary.
Much of what the two discussed has been said publicly before, including that Apple’s directors loathed the spot and tried to kill it. But Mr. Hayden gave a more colorful description of that boardroom scene, depicting executives with their heads in their hands, urging that the agency be fired for doing such terrible work. In contrast, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — who was still around at the time — wanted it to air so badly that he offered to write a personal check paying for half and hoping that Jobs would pay for the rest.
Who here wouldn’t give their mouse hand for a client like Woz?
Because I’m pressed for time, I’m doing us all a favor and bulleting:
This was the start of another “The Ad As The Event” period in advertising, where an ad needed to make a bigger splash than the product. Apple were experts at this (remember the “Be Different” TV spot?). Infinity were not (remember the waves breaking on the beach? Nobody else does either.)
For the aspiring copywriters reading this, please note: somebody will always hate your ideas. As a species, humanity can barely agree on what constitutes night or day, so an ad concept/headline operating on an emotional level is not exactly a slam dunk. The trick is knowing when to fight. And when you can’t possibly win.
(Sub-note: I still don’t know the difference. But I do know you can only win if you have a champion on the client side.)
Keep writing, Tom Chandler.
p.s. — It’s still an astonishingly good ad, though it’s possible today’s Apple is more the screen than the hammer thrower.