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Apple's iconic '1984' ad originally premiered on December 31 in Twin Falls, Idaho, not during Super Bowl 18


Apple's iconic "1984" ad is largely heralded as one of the greatest commercial spots ever created. Directed by Ridley Scott, the award-winning ad introduced the world to the Macintosh, promising users a world where they could finally break free from an existence presumably defined by IBM-controlled conformity.

While it's commonly assumed that the famous ad aired only once in its entirety -- during the 1984 Super Bowl -- the truth is that the ad originally premiered a few weeks earlier. On December 31, 1983, just a few minutes before midnight to be exact, the ad hit the air in Twin Falls, Idaho, on KMVT-TV. The reason behind the peculiar airtime is that the advertising folks over at Chiat/Day (now TBWA\Chiat\Day) wanted the commercial to be eligible for that year's advertising awards.

Tom Frank, the TV operator who initially aired the commercial for KMVT-TV, commented many years later that he "was under explicit orders to make sure it aired and aired correctly." He also added that the tape containing the commercial was immediately mailed back to the ad agency after air.

As to why Apple's ad agency chose Twin Falls, Idaho, as the prime spot to premiere the commercial, Frank speculates that it all boils down to geography.

Probably because of our remote location and small nighttime audience. Remember, they were trying to qualify for the next awards season. They really didn't want anyone to see it and comment on it. The Super Bowl was to be the official "premiere."

While the full 60-second ad only aired twice, it's worth mentioning that a 30-second version of the ad did air across 11 US markets, including Boca Raton, Fla., as the city at the time was home to IBM's PC division. Just a subtle jab from Apple to Big Blue on its home turf.

Lastly, Apple commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Mac by remastering the commercial for Macworld 2004. The video is notable insofar as the runner in the revamped commercial is wearing an iPod. Perhaps for the 30th anniversary of the Mac, the woman won't be running at all, but rather walking slowly, head down and fully engrossed in a game of Angry Birds on her iPhone 6.

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