At HUGO Creative, we love irony. And what’s more ironic than watching the world’s most famous tech company epically morph into the very problem against which they were sounding the alarm?
This observation served as the inception of our passion project turned social awareness campaign. In 1984, Apple released what proved to be one of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time. It aired only once and, to this day, is still held uncontested as the gold standard of the ad world.
But their message, while honorable and noble, has tarnished over time. So we created an almost shot-for-shot parody of the original 1984 ad, possessed with our own unique, playful style and complete with our own astounding twists and turns, to reveal a message vitally pertinent to a society where new technology and social media run rampant.
The process was very challenging but immensely rewarding and fun. To start, it was all about paying proper respect to the original ad. We wanted to faithfully adhere to the original flow while infusing our own narrative.
There are three main characters in this ad: the woman, the drones, and Big Brother.
We battled for a long time about how to address the woman. Do we keep her the same? Age her up 40 years? Change her completely? In the end, we felt it was more important to keep her the same. Changing her or even ageing her up was problematic to the narrative. We did give her a more gritty look. She’s been fighting this battle for years now; she’s tired but determined.
This was the biggest component for us, with the clearest vision from inception. They must be nose-down into their phones. How does that change the form of the human body? We took some inspiration from Frankenstein and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, among other real-world medical cases of spine deformities.
Then the masks. We wanted a mask on the top of the head so that when the head is down, the mask is pointing forward. This is a common cartoonish ploy among youth to appear as if they’re paying attention. We loved that idea so much! Except our masks are made up of emojis. We create an online persona, hiding behind and exuding feelings through emojis. The line from Ben Stein in The Mask rang in our ears throughout this process: “We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking.” Except in this world, frighteningly enough, we wear masks online all the time.
The online battle for our attention is fierce. If you’ve seen The Social Dilemma, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. The key players, we felt, are obviously Apple (as creators of the first smartphone), Facebook/IG, and Twitter. So naturally, we spoofed Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Dorsey. These three represent the social media and online world vying for our attention. They digitally shove each other out of the way for the coveted face-to-face screen time with us. We also have a special guest popping up once or twice.
Creating the layers of textures and elements and brush strokes was a painstaking process, but one we deemed necessary, as the original is so rich in lighting and mood.
With the goal of paying respect to the original at the forefront, we knew there was no other alternative: do it right or not at all.
This was a daunting task, but one that everyone involved, from copywriters to sound designers, took on with gusto and excitement. We’re thrilled to have embraced such a large challenge and are even more thrilled that it will hopefully lead to constructive conversations about screen time and our addiction to social media.
We hope you enjoy viewing this as much as we did creating it and that it provokes insightful and constructive conversation around an ever-evolving issue.
* No Apple products were harmed during the making of this parody.