Watch Apple's creepy follow-up to the 1984 Super Bowl ad

One year after releasing the legendary 1984 ad, Apple creeped out Super Bowl audiences with the Lemmings commercial.

Everyone, or at least everyone who will read this, is familiar with Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad. That's especially impressive when you consider that it was only shown on TV once (after the Super Bowl, George Orwell's estate sent Apple a cease and decist letter charging copyright infringement of the novel 1984). Even so, it remains up there with Mean Joe Green and "Where's the beef?!" in the classic commercial lexicon.

RELATED: 30 years of Apple's Mac computer

It appears, however, that not nearly as many people are familiar with Apple's equally noteworthy 1985 Super Bowl ad, titled Lemmings. Reportedly inspired by the myth that lemmings committed mass suicide by accidentally walking off cliffs during migration, the ad showed blindfolded businessmen walking single file off of cliffs in a dystopian wasteland, the implicit result of a world ruined by enterprise PCs that didn't run Macintosh. Whereas the 1984 ad was praised for its allusion to the dystopian future laid out in Orwell's legendary novel, the Lemmings ad was denounced for creating an overly bleak, suicidal scenario created specifically as a knock against Apple's competitors.

The 1984 ad has well over 1 million views on YouTube. The most popular YouTube reproduction of the Lemmings ad has fewer than 30,000 (two others have recorded slightly more than 4,000 and 6,000, respectively). Apple's successes seem to far outweigh its missteps.

That doesn't mean the Lemmings ad has not received its due criticism, though. Cult of Mac ranked it No. 2 in its list of Apple's worst advertisements, while Forbes has called it "the Super Bowl ad that almost killed Apple." 

So in preparation for this Sunday's Super Bowl, amid the celebration of the 30th anniversary of both the Mac computer and the 1984 ad that introduced it, keep in mind that Apple's criticisms of its competitors weren't always so well-received.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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