- 30 Sep 09, 10:29 GMT
Apple's iconic "Big Brother" advert is one of the most famous commercials in the business. Its prime-time airing took place on 22 January 1984 in the middle of the Super Bowl.
With more than a nod to George Orwell's novel 1984, the advert warned of a future where soulless drones unquestionably soak up the words of their dictator who speaks to them from a large screen. Moments later a gorgeous nameless heroine in red shorts and a white tank top comes running down the aisle with a hammer in her hands while apparently being chased by the thought police.
She hurls the hammer at the screen just as "Big Brother" is telling the faithful "we shall prevail." The screen is destroyed in a shock of bright light and the commercial ends with text which reads "On January 26th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984'."
Well now get set for the sequel on YouTube.com and you will see why 1984 is so not like 2009. And I think it is fairly safe to say that this follow-up does not have the approval of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.
For 1984 take two, a Silicon Valley start-up called doubleTwist is sending Apple a very pointed message. Monique Farantzos, one of its co-founders and a former physicist told me why:
"For many back then, Apple symbolised the rebel and that whole 'think different' attitude but honestly I don't think they can say that anymore."
"I see Apple as the new Microsoft and so it felt natural to do this advert this way."
Let me give you a bit of background on doubleTwist.
As you will see from stories here on the BBC, the company is big into reverse engineering which is something the likes of Apple are not terribly keen on. The aim is to let users take their digital media like songs, movies and other files and transfer them easily between say cell phones, cameras, laptops and iPods.
DoubleTwist might have a thing about Apple because this is its second go at the company. Back in June, they took out a massive billboard advert next to the Apple store in San Francisco offering "the cure for iPhone envy." It was of course a free doubleTwist download.
In the latest version of the advert, the drones in the video are wearing white ear buds and round white spectacles. Their master tells them "no other choices shall detract from our glory and our domination will be complete." As he utters his prevailing words at the end, the heroine does her damage and the video closes by saying "On October 6th, doubleTwist brings you... choice."
"Our billboard was brought down after pressure from Apple so it kind of felt that Apple is not just about shiny new gadgets," Mr Farantzos told me.
"There is a darker side as they become more powerful. That includes where iPhone applications are getting rejected, where Google voice is turned down, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) investigaton or the Palm Pre being blocked. There are many of these examples and we wanted to point out that the emperor has no clothes."
Ms Farantzos said the video was two and a half months in the making and came about during a visit to Tokyo. It was her idea to use the white ear buds in the advert because it suggested conformity.
She admitted that she isn't sure if Mr Jobs will take too kindly to their re-working of the advert and their message, but she hopes on one level he gets it.
"I hope he will see the parallels of this small company going after the status quo. He used to be there 25 years ago and now it is a very different story," said Ms Farantzos.
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