On February 4, 2018, two NFL teams will come together on the biggest stage in sports to vie for football supremacy. The day after, the cream of advertising’s creative crop will convene in New York to declare one Super Bowl ad the best of the year and will proudly honor it with the 4th annual Super Clio.
To help set the stage, we are going to spend the next few weeks leading up to the big game highlighting the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time. Those pop culture touchstones that are still referenced today, and which helped cement football’s championship showcase as the most important date on the calendar for agencies and brands.
WEEK TWO: Apple “1984”
Air Date: January 22, 1984
Super Bowl XVIII (Los Angeles Raiders 38/Washington Redskins 9)
When Chiat/Day’s Lee Clow, Steve Hayden, and Brent Thomas conceived of this idea for then-fledgling home computer company Apple, they didn’t necessarily think they were going to make history—but they definitely knew they were going to make one hell of a provocative statement. Recruiting director Ridley Scott, fresh from genre-bending masterpieces like Alien and Blade Runner, was the coup de grace, resulting in an ad that at once paid timely tribute to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 and announced Apple as a brand that would eventually outgrow simple home computers.
Clio honored “1984” in 1995, officially adding it to our Hall of Fame and acknowledging it as not just one of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time, but one of the greatest ads period. It’s ironic that Apple began with a defiant roar against conformity only to see its own white earbuds and smartphones become a ubiquitous social presence…but that’s a subject for another day.
Years later, Clow would point to several reasons why the ad was so monumental. He mentions that it only aired once and that the actual product is never shown as factors that helped build its legend—but more importantly: “We had a client who believed it was world-changing and said ‘Go do me an ad that doesn’t look like anything anybody’s ever done before!’”
Meet the 2018 Super Clio Jury, right here.