Apple's '1984' - Where Are They Now? on USA Today Ad Meter
Ad Meter’s Where Are They Now? takes a look back at some of the great Super Bowl ads in history, and chronicles what became of the stars and creators behind some of the best commercials ever.
The Ad: Apple’s ‘1984’
Premiered: Super Bowl XVIII in 1983 on CBS*
Cost: $900,000 (adjusts to close to $2 million when done so for inflation)
Stars: Anya Major and the voice of David Graham
Director: Ridley Scott
While Mean Joe Greene’s Coke ad is generally thought of as one of the first “big” sports advertising moments, Apple’s ‘1984’ is the touchstone for the beginning of the massive, expensive, creative yet commercial statement via the Super Bowl.
Interpreted as a take on Orwell’s 1984, so much so that the estate of Orwell and the television rightsholders sent out a cease-and-desist, its message can be taken in so many different ways, both then and now. Imagine a universe where Apple are scrappy underdogs trying to take down Big Brother? Or even just Microsoft?
The ad was so controversial, it created a news cycle around itself that led to the commercial getting an estimated $5 million in free air time. ‘1984’ won awards both that year (at the Clios, which celebrate commercials), and has been named the best commercial of all time by TV Guide.
It was the first commercial that, when putting together this project, I gave thought to where the principles in it are, because while the director is extremely well known, the lead actress (and voice actor) aren’t exactly immediate household figures.
Where Are They Now?
The first part of this story is fairly easy to tell. Ridley Scott is one of the most well known blockbuster film directors of his generation. Already known at that time for the seminal Alien and Blade Runner, he would go on to success with movies like Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster and Prometheus. However, he may go down as best known for helming 2000’s Gladiator, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Anya Major, who played “the runner” was an experienced discus runner, which helped her win the part. Strangely, she never kept on acting. Her only other notable acting role since is in Elton John’s 1985 video for “Nikita.”She’s a wife and mother of three, and still gets fan mail about the role. It’s hard not to imagine her becoming a viral phenomenon and someone who’d have parlayed that role into more of a career in today’s commercial culture.
David Graham, the voice of “Big Brother,” was mainly known as a voice actor from the original Thunderbirds. He continues to have a career as a voice actor to this day, starring in British cartoon series Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. He is slated to reprise his role in Thunderbirds in an upcoming CGI film adaptation.
Read more at: Super Bowl XLVIII Ad Meter