Imagine no icons,
It’s really hard to do,
No pictures to click on,
Nothing there to view.
If you are under twenty five,
It just won’t jive.
There’s nothing to click for,
No reason to comply.
The year was 1984. Another Super Bowl Sunday, just like the rest that had come before. Two teams in the battle of their lives, and a whole lot of advertising dollars chasing for too little time. The game itself was boring. The Raiders defeated the Redskins by the score of 38–9, but what will be remembered of that day was the ubiquitous ad that ran during the third quarter break, featuring a tall blond woman running down a dystopian hallway, carrying a large brass headed hammer which she hurls at a large telescreen, shattering the talking head of big brother.
I’ll never forget that moment. It was one of the most riveting commercials ever produced. While it was commercially shown only twice, it went on to become a watershed event. Apple introduced it’s iconic Macintosh computer to the world with that message, and forever banished the command line of text to the dustbin of history.
The Macintosh had icons…
And a mouse, a curious little device that rolled on the table and moved a cursor around on the screen. In the sea of Big Blue conformity, this little machine allowed the average person to interact with the computer without knowing some secret command language. It was just point and click. It was the beginning of a revolution in the way people interacted with the computing device.
As in the ad, this rolling mouse and screen based icons, defeated the enemy of the green screen flashing cursor.
The cursor represented the mind control of the corporate giant, IBM. The ad featured this speech by the big brother figure…
Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!
Within a decade, in an explosive defeat, the monochrome monitor and flashing cursor were gone, replaced with full color screens and beautiful icons. Thirty years later, the mouse is gone as touch screens on many different devices display beautiful icon sets which are accessed with the click or stroke of a finger.
It’s hard to imagine 1984 today.
There were no icons at the time…
No email, no internet, no touch screens, no smart phones, no tablets, no mp3 players, no cloud, no mouse… and literally NO fun.
Computing was a drag. If you are under twenty five, you may not understand.
In sixty seconds, Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak’s vision of an easy to use computer went around the world.
Icons were introduced that day.
The mouse moved and shattered the mind control of the command line. People were now free to compute on their own terms.
Today, thirty one years later, the Super Bowl airs again. Two teams in the battle of their lives, and a host of Super Bowl commercials, aimed at getting their message across.
Will one of these shatter the status quo and change the world?
I hear Footsteps coming…
Question: What do you think the next world changing commercial will be?