Evolution of Macintosh Computer Commercials

Analyzing contents from 1974 to 2014

Introducing the concept of a personal computer, the Apple Macintosh PC has influenced our notion of work and computing. With the release of its first major commercial "1984" which aired December 31, 1983 and ended with the message "why 1984 won't be like 1984", Apple began forming its identity as a liberating, self-empowering technology that is easy to use and for everyone. Talking to an audience who was not yet convinced of the need for a personal computer, the methods of persuasion and contents of its messages has changed significantly to our present date.

Data for this project has been formulated from heavily browsing commercials on YouTube and Google. Supplementary data used in preliminary sketches comes from everymac.com, an archive of every Apple product. Financial data comes from ycharts.com, financial data for Apple Inc.'s net annual income.

For 8 time spans between 1984 and 2014 I select 4-5 commercials that encompass the trending themes of commercial content for those time-spans.

Each commercial is carefully watched and the contents are categorized into a list of concepts developed after much refining.


The main categories are: Methods of Persuasion, How the Product Helps the User, and Product Assets. For each time-span the concepts are added up and plotted over time, showing the change in frequency of each concept over the years.

One commercial per time-span is selected and shown as a film-strip with a description followed by a graphic highlighting the concepts it contains, to give context for the categories and concepts.