Sir Ridley Scott: ‘Who the f*** is Steve Jobs?’ (video)

Of the more than 2,000 TV ads created by the director of Alien, Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise, one stands out.

From Rebecca Keegan’s “What Ridley Scott Has Learned: ‘We Don’t Know S***’” posted Thursday in The Hollywood Reporter:

His most famous ad is Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl spot introducing the Macintosh computer, regarded as one of the most influential ads of all time. When the agency, Chiat/Day, pitched Ridley on directing a spot for Apple, he thought they were talking about The Beatles. “They said, ‘No, no, no. Apple is this guy called Steve Jobs.’ I went, ‘Who the fuck is Steve Jobs?’ They said, ‘It’s probably going to be something.’” Scott read the script and thought, “My God. They’re not saying what it is, they’re not showing what it is. They’re not even saying what it does. It was advertising as an art form. It was devastatingly effective.” Today, “Advertising is changing dramatically. And the problem is it went onto this,” Ridley says, holding up his iPhone, “which was both genius and the enemy. It’s now in segments, where you’re trying to find an article and there’s 19 little snippets of it. Is it effective? I very much doubt it.”

My take: I thought I’d heard everything there was to say about the 1984 “Big Brother” Macintosh ad. Here it is, one more time:


  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Jobs was brilliant. So was Ridley Scott for executing it.
    Why 1984 won’t be like Orwell’s 1984.
    But in this now age of surveillance cameras, e.g. smart doorbells, dash cams, home & city-wide & countrywide security cameras, drones, satellites, et al, and things like GPS & IP address & cookies & ad-tracking, it seems we’re closer to 1984 now more than ever before. Depending on where you are.

    January 17, 2022
  2. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Thankful for Apple for giving us the means to counter it on our Apple devices.

    January 17, 2022
  3. George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Steve Jobs were definitely on to something. In the 1940’s George Orwell predicted self-delusion would end up as an endemic component of all modern societies. Huxley was certain genetically-designed humans and other animals would become common. Steve Jobs inspired his teams to create a battery-powered computer that could fit in a shirt pocket, a laptop in an envelope, and a thin tablet with 8 hours battery life.

    January 17, 2022
  4. David Drinkwater said:
    For the Christmas immediately following the 1984 ad, I received my first Mac, a 128k, if I recall correctly. I think I had a 512kE later, but I may have the sequence wrong. I had already been using Apple ][‘s, so I was familiar with Apple, but the Mac was totally different. (Obviously.) While it did not break Big Blue and became the mindsource (and mined source) for Microsoft Windows, it did change everything, just at the iPod and iPhone have done. Entire industries have been creatively destroyed and destructively created. Even now, nearly 40 years later, this ad does that thought process justice.

    I don’t remember my entire machine history, but at one point, before a mechanical breakage brought on my my own hands by accident during a move, I had an exact replica of the MOMA G4 Cube and Original Mac Display (the display stand broke). I’ve since removed the hard drives from the G4s, because they became unmaintainable, but I have two of them serving as “bookends” on my mantle-piece. I think I have the speakers in storage. That thing sounded gorgeous when it started up! *bwong!*

    January 17, 2022
  5. Michael Goldfeder said:
    While I don’t think anyone outside of Madison Avenue or a major tv network executive can answer this question: But how many Super Bowl commercials have been made since 1984? I’m sure that’s a substantial number, yet everyone always references this “Apple 1984” commercial in the same context of remembering Joe Namath of the AFL New York Jets guaranteeing a victory over the heavily favored NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. That was actually called the NFL/AFL Championship Game back in the day. The victory by 19 1/2 point underdog Jets is still an all time classic.

    Does anyone outside of Epic Games and Tim Sweeney remember his “Project Liberty” 1984 Parody commercial? Neither does Joe Namath!

    January 17, 2022

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