At the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple premiered its now-famous “1984” commercial, a clarion call to individualism, originality and revolutionary tech. Everyone loved it.
A year later, Apple’s ad folks decided they had a winning recipe on their hands, and for the 1985 Super Bowl, they’d do the exact same thing, only really drive home the point.
That point being, if you don’t buy a Mac, you might as well commit suicide. Buy Apple or die! And 1985’s “Lemmings,” promoting the release of Macintosh Office, was born.
Before the Super Bowl, Apple released ads that said, “If you go to the bathroom during the fourth quarter, you’ll be sorry.” Those who held their bladders were treated to apocalyptic imagery of a line of blindfolded people walking off a cliff and falling to their deaths. A macabre version of Disney’s “Heigh-Ho” plays. After nearly everyone dies, one guy takes off his blindfold (and, offscreen, buys a Mac).
Ramblingbeachcat.com points out the true irony of the ad: “The reasons lemmings have a reputation as being suicidal is due to an old (and award winning) Disney nature documentary that staged the lemming suicides to look real (when in actuality they were being killed by the filmmakers), and the irony is sickening … and a little bit hilarious.”
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