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Apple’s 1984 epic: it’s 40 years since Ridley Scott ‘liberated the masses’

It’s 40 years to the day since Apple’s “1984” commercial hit the Super Bowl half time slot. The ad was deemed so shocking that it featured in the news bulletins immediately afterwards.

Directed by Ridley Scott, 1984’s dystopian mood was meant to capture the epic, liberating impact that Apple would have on all our lives. The Macintosh went on sale two days later for $2,500 and – much like Orwell’s Big Brother – Apple now holds millions of us hostage inside its seductive ecosystem.

1984 turned out to be a pretty dystopian year all round: HIV was identified; the Cold War raged; a famine in Ethiopia was the catalyst for Band Aid; crack cocaine appeared on the streets; and miners went on strike in the UK.

Ridley Scott’s film convinced creatives that advertising could be art, setting a precedent that has inspired and deluded the industry in equal measure ever since.

Director and client continue to have a mutually beneficial relationship to this day – Apple coughed up $200m to fund Scott’s latest epic endeavour, Napoleon.

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