Great Moments In Commercial History: Apple

It has the power of at least 2 computers! It can run over 10,000 different programs! It comes with everything you need to hook it up to your TV! You can take it home for under $1300!

We like watching ads for outdated technology. It reminds us not to spend tons on money on soon-to-be obsolete junk, and also makes us feel happy that technology is so much better than it was in 1984.

And just because we love you, here’s one about something new called “the internet” and an old Mac/PC ad:

If you’d like to nominate a commercial for our weekly series “Great Moments In Commercial History” send us an email at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com. Be sure to put “Great Moments In Commercial History” in the subject. To see other commercials that have been featured in the series, click here.


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  1. Jim says:

    Yeah – but if you wait a month – it’ll only be $1100.

  2. dbeahn says:

    Um…the line is “It has the power of THESE 2 computers…”

  3. 4ster says:

    Man, I actually owned an Apple ][c. My brother and I got it for Christmas in 1984.

  4. MexiFinn says:

    Hot damn! I had one of those when I was a kid. Ok, it was my brother’s, but we played some of first games on it like Q-bert and some helicopter game where you had to deploy tropps and tanks that looked awesome on my dad’s TV.

    Anyhow, It’s still in my parents attic, and last I checked it still worked. Maybe I’ll see if it boots up faster than my 3 year old iBook :)

  5. rmz says:

    @4ster: We had a ][c (or //c or whatever) too, and it’s still in my parents’ house, packed up in the attic I think. I wish I could get it back, but it would cost a lot to ship it — and the 17″ color monitor we had for it (King’s Quest I in 16 stunning colors!) — cross-country, I think.

  6. bluesunburn says:

    My family’s first computer was a //C!
    It still works, too.

  7. Pipes says:

    These things absolutely never get old. And being that I’m a 20-something, it boggles my mind to see what people got geeked about when I was too young to remember.

    Strangely enough, in the third one, a little boy is trying to play the bagpipes. Someone should probably have consulted somebody who ACTUALLY plays the instrument, because what he’s trying to play is fake.

    /threadjack for any would-be bagpipe purchasers: as a teacher, I see tons of prospective students, usually older gentleman enamored with the possibility of marching in parades and playing Amazing Grace. They get this great deal on an eBay bagpipe for about $300. They’re called “Whacky Packis” because they’re made in Pakistan and are of such poor quality that they’re unable to make any sounds other than that squeak the boy got out of it. (He’s playing a Whacky.) Bagpipes will run you probably about $1000 at the low end, consult us and take lessons before buying! You’ll need at least 6 months of music learning before even attempting to play the full instrument anyway.

  8. amypop says:

    Wow, I still have my Apple //c. I LOVED it — used to play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” on it all the time, as well as Zork (which I never did get the hang of) and Jeopardy.

    I think it still works, but the monitor screen is sadly too green to be able to read.

  9. Trae says:

    I was a Commodore 64 user myself…

  10. Himiko says:

    I like the new ones more but looks like they always liked to compare to PCs. But today a “regular PC” is cheaper than a Mac, sadly. Otherwise I would have one.

  11. ptkdude says:

    I love the “you can take it home for under $1300” part. That’s only just over $2500 today.

  12. TPIRman says:

    Agreed with commenters above — the Apple //c was a fantastic little computer. The last two ads, though, come from relatively lean times. The classroom one was part of Apple’s “Oh, shit!” moment after they completely missed the boat on that whole Internet fad. The Mac vs. PC ad hearkens the beginning of an era when Apple execs directed the company to crank out nondescript, crappy computers like the Performa series, hoping to cruise on the Apple brand name while destroying everything that made the Apple brand name something to admire in the first place. It didn’t work.

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    They had computers that people couldn’t watch porn on? That’s… Ghastly!

  14. homerjay says:

    If only the “It costs less” mantra still held true. I had a ][c too. The only thing I ever remember using it for was playing Wizardry.

  15. bmwloco says:

    I was a college student when the “computer revolution” took place. I graduated before the internet was something every mall rat understood.

    I used and actually tried to work with Windows 1.0. I built a PC without a hard drive, using a ram drive to load Procom + and could dial up GEnie to use basic communcation.

    Then there were the BBS’s you could dial into; I met people outside my sphere of orbit.

    I kept seeing Apple Computers. Then I saw a Lisa at Education Research Center. I was smitten.

    I started using a Mac when the SE came out. I’ve been using them since.

    Hell, I think I even have a Duo 210 that still boots, albeit slowly. Ain’t OS8 Great? :)

  16. Falconfire says:

    @bmwloco: I have a SE30 that still works as well as a overclocked LCII (45mhz baby)

    One thing I can say about Macs, they last forever. We still use 8 year old iMacs in our district and many of them are still running Im just pulling them because its to hard to find replacement parts at this point as well as they dont run OS X. Our PCs barely last 3 years, and those that do are usually on their last legs.

  17. faust1200 says:

    This Orwellian Apple ad will always be the classic Apple ad.

  18. DjDynasty says:

    @faust1200: I personally like the Think Different campaign. because IBM’s ads in the 50’s were “THINK. IBM”

  19. rockergal says:

    Hah, I am also a former Commodore 64 user,
    mine was the fancy one with the Cassette Tape drive
    my favorite game was Chiller. a pretty neat platform game that I still miss.
    now THAT thing was indestructable! I took it with me for summer vacations in Spain and it was never handled with care lol, and always ran great. It’s a shame that I left it behind when I moved to the USA
    I swear, one of these days I will buy one on ebay if I can find the game chiller.

  20. faust1200 says:

    @Falconfire: Se30’s were super fast. I only had an SE. An overclocked SE? Noice.

  21. Balance_In_Life says:

    That was so MY first computer. (The family had the old IBMs since i was a kid.) I remember my dad bringing this home and giving it to me. Think he paid like 100 bucks for it. Aztec was awesome.

  22. Starfury says:

    My first computer: Apple II+. 2nd: Atari ST. 3rd and on: PC Clones.

    I miss the Atari, had some good games and was easy to use.

  23. Balisong says:

    @Faust1200 – I disagree. The Hal commercial is far better :)

    I remember growing up seeing all those commercials with classrooms around the world hooked up through internet video, communicating with each other. When the heck is that gonna happen?