Top 10 All-Time Favorite Apple Commercials - InformationWeek

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4/8/2016
07:05 AM
Nathan Eddy
Nathan Eddy
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Top 10 All-Time Favorite Apple Commercials

Apple recently marked its 40th birthday, and the company settled into middle age with a couple of new TV ads. Through the last four decades, Apple has produced not only iconic products, but also memorable commercials. We take a look at our 10 favorite Apple ads of all time.
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(Image: lightkey/iStockphoto)

(Image: lightkey/iStockphoto)

Apple is a company almost as well known for its marketing prowess as it is for its design genius, with product campaigns that seem to effortlessly position the tech giant as the king of cool technology.

Apple has been a major force in consumer advertising for decades starting with the Ridley Scott directed 1984 ad, which aired only twice on American television, including the famous run during Super Bowl XVIII.

Originally a subject of contention within Apple, the battle to bring it to air is the subject of one of the scenes in the most recent Steve Jobs film. It has subsequently been called a watershed event and a masterpiece in advertising.

The 1984 ad created a blueprint for going after its competition -- at the time IBM, and then later, Microsoft -- which combined a certain attitude about Apple products coupled with a playfulness that remains a hallmark of the company.

With the exception of a funky George Clinton spot in the early 1990s, Apple hit a bit of a rough patch but bounced back with the massively successful ad campaign for the iPod, which featured people as dark silhouettes, dancing to music against bright-colored backgrounds.

[Read more about Apple's 40th anniversary.]

Apple's series of 24 "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" advertisements as part of their "Get a Mac" campaign was another highlight for the company, although some critics at the time thought Apple's smugness was off-putting rather than great marketing.

From 1984 up through its 40th anniversary ad, Apple has had hits and misses, but has never suffered from lack of creativity or the occasional temptation to pull on the heartstrings of potential users.

Apple turned 40 on April 1. To help mark its four-decade milestone, InformationWeek has pulled together our 10 favorite Apple ads over the decades. We think you'll (mostly) agree, especially if you'd like to see Taylor Swift wipe out on a treadmill. If we missed one that you like or if you think we got the order wrong, let us know in the comments section.

(All images courtesy of iStock)

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/12/2016 | 4:19:42 PM
Re: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
vnewman, 

I would say you are not the only one. 

-Susan
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/12/2016 | 3:00:00 PM
Re: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
So maybe I'm an advertiser's nightmare as I DVR most of my shows and now that I think of it, I likely fast-forwarded through all of these except the PC/MAC ones. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/12/2016 | 4:05:44 AM
Re: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
vnewman, 

That's interesting. Maybe you were not paying attention? Or, maybe during the commercials you made a quick trip to the fridge/kitchen for some snacks? That's the most logical explanation, I would say. :) 

I don't watch TV. Yet, you can always find everything online. I don't remember how I came across the first I'm a Mac, I'm a PC ad. After that, I watched them all on YouTube; several times. 

Yes, they are cleaver. And funny. It's a great combination. It has always been quite hard to find good commercials on television. You are usually forced to watch 20 minutes of commercials per hour, or 10 minutes during a "30-minute" show. When I did the math, I came up to the conclusion that I was wasting an incredible amount of time doing anything productive, not even getting entertained because what I had chosen to watch was interrupted constantly by those moments of nothing. I decided to get rid of the television. I have filled my free time with much more interesting things to do. 

But, the Buy a Mac campaign would have been the one thing that would have kept me watching during commercials.

-Susan
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/11/2016 | 12:08:32 PM
Re: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
@Susan I would agree with you - they were brilliantly clever.  I can really say that about most of the other ads because frankly, this is the first time I'm ever seeing them.  I counted exactly 3 out the 10 campagins that I remember.  How is that possible?  I've watched an obsence amount of TV over the past 20-30 years, so how did I miss them?
loicblancheton
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loicblancheton,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/11/2016 | 12:06:27 PM
Apple > Microsoft
Apple has always been really good at marketing its products, especially with their Keynotes!
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2016 | 4:12:29 PM
Re: 1984
Good point -- Apple is now the same type of company it battled against years ago. Apple has become IBM! and IBM has become something else. There you have it

>> it now uses many more tactics of inclusive group-think in its adverts. The exact sort of thinking it railed against with its earliest adverts. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2016 | 9:53:13 AM
I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
My favorite Apple ads have always been the Get a Mac campaign: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC. :D Still today, watching the 37+ minutes that last the complete compilation, the ads make me laugh. The best part is that they remain timeless. :D

Sorry, PCs. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2016 | 9:52:47 AM
I'm a Mac. I'm a PC
My favorite Apple ads have always been the Get a Mac campaign: I'm a Mac. I'm a PC. :D Still today, watching the 37+ minutes that last the complete compilation, the ads make me laugh. The best part is that they remain timeless. :D

Sorry, PCs. 

-Susan 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
4/8/2016 | 8:04:08 AM
1984
While I would agree that the 1984 inspired advert is an excellent one, it's really interesting to note how different the tone of Apple is and was. While then it was the anti-establishment, underdog piece of technology, it now uses many more tactics of inclusive group-think in its adverts. The exact sort of thinking it railed against with its earliest adverts. 
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