They are marching through a long corridor and are wearing almost prison-style uniforms. The corridor has TV’s installed after every few steps and it seems the group is being taken to a large auditorium where they are addressed through a gigantic screen by the leader. At this point, a blonde woman running in bright clothes presents a stark contrast to the scene being played out. She is being chased by guards wearing plastic helmets.
While the man on the screen continues his speech, the woman runs towards the auditorium holding a sledgehammer. She then spins and throws the sledgehammer at the screen before the guards catch up with her. As the inmates scream, a viceroy announces the launch of Apple’s Macintosh and that the product will explain why the year 1984 will not play out as it did in the novel 1984 (by George Orwell). The main signifier and their signified meanings are: * Brainwashed men: The men are marching, sans any expressions or feelings towards the auditoriums.
They seem to lack any free will or thinking capacity and are simply following the instructions that are being fed to them. Their demeanor reminds one of the behavior of prisoners in concentration camps. Their monotony represents the dull lives of users of the available products in the PC and office computer market (primarily MOM) in 1984. * Blonde woman: The need to break free and to rebel is shown by the blonde woman. Her blonde hair and liveliness presents a clear Juxtaposition to the brainwashed men. She is dressed in red and white, unlike the nondescript and dull loathes worn by the men.
She runs ahead of the guards and manages to liberate the men from the humdrum lecturing of their erstwhile leader. Her vitality and path- breaking approach represents a typical user of Apple’s Macintosh computer. Her breaking the screen represents the relief and excitement Apple can bring to the lives of their users. * Guards: The guards are shown chasing the blonde woman, attempting to prevent her from disturbing the setup created by the leader of the system. The guards seem powerful and influential. In this TV, they represent the custodians of the established
PC, office computer and software markets. They try their best that no deviant breaks the monotony of the market. * The leader: The leader is a middle aged man with a bald head and wearing dark glasses (perhaps to hide the expression in his eyes). The leader talks about how “Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth”, thereby promoting conformity of ideas (or rather following a given set of ideas). The leader here represents the corporate (primarily MOM) which propagate conformity. Of the situation.
It smashes the gigantic screen and interrupts the constant lecturing of the leader. In this TV, the sledgehammer represents Apple’s Macintosh- the revolutionary computer which will release users from a boring and limiting PC system. * The announcement: It is during the announcement that the contextual relationship between the TV and the novel 1984 becomes most explicit. This announcement brings to mind the idea that the dominance of IBM in PC market is creating a restrictive and almost disappoint society wherein the freedom of thought is denied to a common user.
This advertisement, however, can only be understood in its entirety if the viewer pre- possesses the cultural knowledge used in the TV, I. E. , knowledge about the disappoint society portrayed in the 1984 and a basic understanding of the plot of the novel. On the other hand, the immense popularity of the novel also ensures that the commercial becomes more than Just a TV; it becomes a part of cultural property related to the novel. The immaculate timing of the TV, its narrative excitement and its clear and distinct message has ensured that it has remained one of the most iconic representations ever.