Mac Birthday Video Stars iPhone
Apple was a no-show at the Super Bowl this year, but it may have recreated some of the excitement of its 30-year-old "Big Brother" ad with a video released on YouTube the day after the big game. Although it's ostensibly a celebration of the Mac, it was shot entirely with iPhones. "It's pretty cool you can do something like that," said former Apple CEO John Sculley.
Feb 4, 2014 5:00 AM PT
Unlike in 1984, when the Macintosh was introduced, there weren't any Apple ads at the Super Bowl this year. Instead, on the day after the Massacre in the Meadowlands, the company raised the curtain on a 127-second video celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Mac -- on YouTube.
Video for the project was shot entirely with iPhones over a 36-hour period on Jan. 24, the 30th birthday of Apple's Mac. It includes footage from 10 countries on five continents.
Whittled down from 70 hours of raw video, the tribute runs a tad over two minutes. It opens with a sunrise and ends with a sunset. Over an original score of heroic music, it shows people of assorted ages and races playing and working with Apple products.
"The most interesting thing about this is it was shot with an iPhone," John Sculley told TechNewsWorld. "It's pretty cool you can do something like that. It's a lot slicker than anything we ever made."
Sculley was CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993, and it was during his tenure that the Mac was launched with a bang: the "Big Brother" ad -- one of the most memorable in the history of television advertising. It was directed by Ridley Scott, whose son, Jake, directed the Mac tribute video. [*Correction - Feb. 4, 2014]
Emphasis on People
The values advocated in that 1984 ad can be seen in the celebratory video.
"The 1984 ad was about giving you freedom, independence, individuality and the ability to create," John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University, told TechNewsWorld. "The video is talking about much the same thing."
Although there's no mistaking that Apple products are being used in the video, the emphasis in most of the shots is on the people -- not their gadgets.
"We're seeing that more and more in their advertising -- an emphasis on the people aspect as opposed to the technology aspect," Carroll said. "Apple's advertising has always had a personal element to it, but I think it's been heightened in this video."
As with the 1984 spot 30 years ago, the tribute video has a visceral element to it.
"The key takeaway is that Apple products are used by amazing people to do amazing things, everyday, everywhere," Michael Morgan, an independent mobile devices analyst, told TechNewsWorld.
"In short, it shows that in 30 years, Apple is a global, pervasive phenomenon that reaches to the young and the old," he continued, "with simple yet powerful technology that enables and enhances the human experience without getting in the way of the human experience."
While the pretext for the video is to celebrate the Mac, the iPhone and iPad make prominent appearances in the production.
"When you read the commentary that goes with the video, it seems like it's more a video promoting the iPhone than promoting the Mac," Darren Hayes, a professor at the Pace University Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, told TechNewsWorld.
"You'd think that a video celebrating 30 years of the Mac might show the evolution of the Mac, but it seems like a big advertisement," Hayes added.
There's another subtle pitch in the video.
"There also seems to be an emphasis on China -- where they're trying to increase their appeal because they feel it has the greatest growth potential for them," noted Hayes.
"30 years ago we introduced Macintosh. It promised to put technology in the hands of the people," notes a title in the video's opening shot.
"What Apple is emphasizing in the video is how computing has evolved, and that the original vision of putting a Mac in the hands of the people has fully manifested itself in the iPhone," Ben Bajarin, a principal with Creative Strategies, told TechNewsWorld.
To some minds, there is one glaring omission in the video.
"Thirty years of Mac is great, but what are you delivering in the next three months?" asked Trip Chowdhry, managing director for equity research for Global Equities Research.
"We can bask in the sun, but that's the past," he told TechNewsWorld. "What you're going to do over the next 30 years is more important."
*ECT News Network editor's note - Feb. 4, 2014: Our original published version of this story mistakenly stated that John Sculley was CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1994. "I actually left Apple in 1993 before the disastrous decision to license the Mac OS, which almost bankrupted the company a few years later," Sculley told TechNewsWorld.