Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2023


Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Communication Studies, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Michelle Shaw

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


In 1984, Apple released a commercial to advertise their first personal computer, The Macintosh. The ad aired during the 1984 Super bowl on January 22nd and was titled “1984”. With the rise of computers and the information age, I set out to discover how Apple was able to distinguish themselves from IBM and why this was so important for them to do. The company used revolutionary rhetoric to address the dreaded social consequences of a world run by computers by positioning the Macintosh as a tool for agency and creativity in a world of mindless drones. This commercial took risks, using dramatic exigence and preying on the audience’s deep-rooted concerns about computers in order to set themselves apart from their largest competitor. Aside from the fact that this commercial is still seen as one of the most important commercials of all time, positioning Apple as an innovator in the field of technology, this commercial effectively targeted a specific audience in order to revolutionize their idea of what technology was capable of. From the overall concept of Orwell’s 1984 down to the specific casting and lighting choices, this commercial did not hold back in appealing to their audience’s fears and doubts when it came to technology. In juxtaposing this negative social attitude towards computers with a dramatic and inspiring narrative of the Macintosh, the creators of this advertisement were able to position the Apple computer as a tool for the individual to express themselves in a world void of color.