The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) has ripped off Apple’s famous advert dubbed 1984 in a cheapskate attempt to promote its upcoming new singing show called Duets (I know, don’t start).

Alluding to George Orwell’s 1984 novel, ABC’s cheesy commercial blatantly copies Apple’s down to a lookalike of an unnamed heroine in white tank top that represented the coming of the Macintosh.

Instead of throwing a large brass-headed hammer to smash a televised Big Brother, in ABC’s version an Olympic track and field athlete hurls a stage microphone at the big screen. Upon impact, the curtain falls down to reveal the familiar-looking set as the audience rises to a standing ovation…

The show will air next Thursday, May 24. Judging by the advertisement, it probably won’t differ much from the likes of American Idol, X Factor and similarly dumb-named singing contests.

Producers hired talents of Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie and Robin Thicke who will travel across America to find their duet partners.

Television personality Quddus, best known from his days as the host of MTV’s Total Request Live, will host the series.


It’s a ‘meh’ in my book.

Now that you’ve seen ABC’s commercial, compare it to Apple’s famous 1984 advert.

Similarities, eh?

As you know, 1984 aired only during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984 and just one other time on television.


Well, ironically enough the estate of George Orwell and the television rightsholder to the novel 1984 deemed it a flagrant copyright infringement. They were apparently enraged enough to send a cease-and-desist letter to Apple and its marketing agency Chiat/Day.

As a result of legal pressure, the advert was never televised as a commercial after that, though it’s since been featured countless times on television commercial compilation specials.

27 years later, Motorola spoofed Apple with its own version of the 1984 advert. That one, too, premiered during Super Bowl.

Interestingly enough, Apple’s recently uncovered four-minute sales footage also makes subtle references to the legendary 1984 advert.

What did you think of the Duets advertisement?

Would you call it a homage or a rip off?

[via Cult of Mac]

  • haha. i think the lady in the Apple Commercial put some more effort into throwing the hammer more than the girl in the ABC commercial throwing the Microphone.

  • Not worth it.

  • Siv

    You made an article out of this? Wow…must be a slow news day…

    • Anonymous

      Speak for yourself.
      I found it interesting.

  • Christian, you’re such an apple fanboy. Just read the title. “ABC rips off Apple’s famed ‘1984’ advert to hype up dumb singing contest”. What the heck dude? I guess any copy of apple is dumb? That makes sense. I personally will probably never watch it, but calling it dumb is uncalled for as many I’m sure will watch this. But that is not my point. My point is that all your articles are insanely biased and fanboyish. I’m surprised you didn’t involve and bash samsung in this article. LOL

    • Seriously. It just blows my mind why Jeff or whoever runs iDB hired him to do articles. Even though writing articles is not my thing, but I would rather learn all the basics of writing articles, and do better than him.

      • Anonymous

        Sebastian’s the owner of the blog. He used to post a whole lot, but not anymore though >~<
        and I agree with ipodtouchman…posts like these should only give information, not bias its readers with the writer's opinion.

      • Yeah, last article he wrote was on January 19, 2011. Page 590. “Apple Reveals the Top iPhone Apps of All Times”

  • Sadly if you look at Christian’s articles, and then look at Jeff Benjamin’s commercial, Christian is just filled with hatred against Apple competitors. Unlike Jeff who just notices the copycats. Compare this article to the “Motorola spoofed Apple” article. Sad.

  • Somehow the words I’m looking for to describe this article haven’t been found out yet. hmm what to do what to do….

  • Gus Me

    Wow, people are having a rough week it seems, it’s almost Friday, relax some. 😉

    This will make it worthwhile to those not interested, or thought this article was dumb…. John Legend has replaced Lionel Richie as a judge/singer, what do you think of this now?!?!?! LOL 😀

  • The show probably won’t be any good… However, they’re taking a different approach to the same old thing… without doing the same old thing… Know what I mean? I’d call it a homage and it allows us to compare and contrast and maybe think about some of the deeper meanings of the original commercial itself, as well as 1984… 🙂