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January 22

The "1984" Macintosh commercial aired today during Super Bowl XVIII.

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The "1984" Macintosh commercial aired today during Super Bowl XVIII.

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





The "1984" commercial launched Apple's Macintosh personal computer in the United States in January, 1984. The 45-second ad, which aired during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, was declared the best ad of the last 50 years in 1995. Directed by Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, the advertisement cost $1.6 million to produce and was aired only once.




After finishing one or more of the lessons on advertising below, have students create original advertisements. Have students review the advertising techniques they've studied (propaganda, advertising fallacies). Next, have students identify a subject for their ad, such as a favorite television show, CD, or product; an upcoming event; or a political candidate. Then, ask small groups to create advertisements designed to persuade others to use a product, hold a viewpoint, or participate in an activity. Students can use one of the following activities to share their ads:

  • Videotape student presentations.
  • Perform skits in the style of radio or television commercials.
  • Draw posters or print flyers using the Printing Press interactive.



  • The 1984 Commercial: The Making of a Legend

    This page includes background information about the ground-breaking Apple commercial and the difficulties involved in airing it, as well as links to the commercial itself.

  • MediaSmarts

    MediaSmarts provides lesson plans and other resources for teaching about advertising and media persuasion.

  • Buyers Beware!

    Media specialist Cynthia Matzat provides this slideshow, which highlights propaganda and other advertising techniques.

  • Don't Buy It

    This PBS website illustrates the ways advertisers try to manipulate consumers. Included is a collection of interactive activities for kids.


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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Critical Media Literacy: Commercial Advertising

By looking at advertising and mass media critically, students begin to understand how the media oppresses certain groups, convinces people to purchase certain products, and influences culture.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Identifying and Understanding the Fallacies Used in Advertising

Students examine the fallacies that surround them every day, deconstruct fallacious images and messages in advertisements, and demonstrate their understanding of the fallacies through multimedia presentations.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads

Students analyze propaganda techniques used in pieces of literature and political advertisements. They then look for propaganda in other media, such as print ads and commercials.


Grades   6 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Blending the Past with Today's Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction

To prepare for literature circles featuring historical novels, students research the decades of the 1930s to the 1990s and share their information using Prezi, a web application for creating multimedia presentations.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Persuasive Techniques in Advertising

Students will be introduced to persuasive techniques used in advertising, analyze advertising, and explore the concepts of demographics, marketing for a specific audience, and dynamic advertising.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Decoding the Dystopian Characteristics of Macintosh's "1984" Commercial

This lesson uses the "1984" Macintosh Commercial to introduce students to dystopian characteristics. Students analyze techniques used in the commercial and identify the comments that it makes about contemporary society.