One of the members of the team behind the design of the original Macintosh posted a hitherto unseen ad for the computer on their Google+ this week, revealing that it never made it to our TV screens because it was deemed “too self-congratulatory” – although it was used in promotional materials sent to dealers.
Andy Hertzfeld, who now works as a software engineer at Google, said the commercial was made by ad agency Chiat/Day in 1983.
The 77-second ad, which begins with a wide shot of some individuals sitting and standing in a conference room, comprises a series of short monologues by those who were closely involved with the development of the iconic Apple computer. Steve Jobs doesn’t appear.
One by one, the designers and engineers – Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, George Crow, Bill Atkinson and Mike Murray – share a few words about their thoughts on the Macintosh.
Former Apple technician Burrel Smith gets the ball rolling. “We designed Macintosh because really we wanted one for ourselves and we couldn’t get one,” he says to camera.
“Demonstrating a Macintosh is the only way to do it,” computer engineer Bill Atkinson tells us. “You gotta show somebody, I can’t really describe it to you in words. But if I can get you to sit in front of it and play with it, you won’t let go of it.”
The most self-congratulatory part comes at the end, from Hertzfeld himself: “We were just trying to make something incredibly great, and I think we did,” he says, wrapping the ad up with a beaming smile.
According to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, published shortly after his death last year, the Apple co-founder said in 1983 that he wanted to create a Macintosh ad that would “stop people in their tracks.” Clearly, this one wouldn’t have done that, explaining why it wasn’t aired.
Instead, Jobs worked with movie director Ridley Scott to come up with the famous ‘1984’ commercial, which would come to be regarded by many as the greatest ad of all time.
Incidentally, that ad – aired during the Super Bowl in January 1984 – was also created by Chiat/Day.
Here’s the 1983 Macintosh ad that never made it to TV.
And here’s the one that did…