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Lemmings was a television commercial that launched the "Macintosh Office" by Apple Computer in the United States, in January 1985, a year after the introduction of the Apple Macintosh in 1984. It was aired during the 1985 Super Bowl, a year after the successful Apple Super Bowl commercial, "1984". The Lemmings commercial was a large failure, unlike "1984", and was widely seen as insulting to potential customers. Apple didn't air another commercial during the Super Bowl until the Hal commercial in 1999 and later, the Pepsi/iTunes "I fought the law" commercial in 2004.
The advertisement's name refers to an urban legend that holds that lemmings periodically commit mass suicide. To the soundtrack of a whistled, discordant and down-tempo version of "Heigh-Ho", a long line of blindfolded businesspersons slowly makes its way through a dusty, windswept landscape to a cliff, where one by one they fall to their doom. A voiceover notes that the "Macintosh Office" will soon be announced. The last businessperson in the line stops just at the brink, uncovers his eyes and takes in the situation, as the announcer states "you can look into it". A second line of people is then shown, as the announcer continues, "or you can go on with business as usual".
This advertisement predates the video games of the same name by several years.
- Seibold, Chris (20 January 2011). "January 20, 1985: Apple Goes to the Well One Too Many Times". Apple Matters. sterndesign, LLC.
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