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Friday, October 30, 2009, 10:50 am PT (01:50 pm ET)

Visionary behind Apple's '1984' advertisement steps down

Lee Clow, creator of numerous legendary Apple ads including the iconic "1984" TV spot, has resigned from his position as chief creative officer at TBWA/Media Arts Lab.

For decades, the lab has handled TBWA's client Apple, bringing cultural cornerstones ranging from the "1984" ad that heralded the debut of the Macintosh computer to the more recent "Get a Mac" ads featuring actors John Hodgman as a PC and Justin Long as the Mac. According to AdAge, Clow, a personal friend of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, has stepped down from his position at age 66.

"Media Arts Lab was founded in 2006 to serve Apple, as well as embody Mr. Clow's vision of a new type of ad agency that makes culture, rather than just commercials," the report said.

TBWA was also behind Apple's "Think Different" campaign and the silhouette iPod advertisements, both made while the organization was under the helm of Clow. He has worked in advertising for more than 40 years, though his best known work has been with the Mac maker. Other memorable campaigns, according to AdAge, include the Energizer Bunny and the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

Lee Clow

Lee Clow, photo via AdAge


Clow will be replaced by Duncan Milner, who has worked on Apple ads and been with TBWA since 1990. Milner has also done campaigns for Nissan, Levi's and Pedigree.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Mac, which launched with the original Macintosh 128K on Jan. 24, 1984. It was the first mainstream computer with a mouse pointer, windowed desktop, icons and folders priced at a level that was more affordable than previous offerings, like the Lisa. The first Mac cost $2,495, while the Lisa cost four times higher.

The introduction of the Macintosh was declared with the Ridley Scott-directed "1984" advertisement, which aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVII on Jan. 22, 1984. The 60-second TV spot was made for a budget of $900,000 and is considered to be a masterpiece in advertising.