"Hillary 1984" Stomps on YouTube
In 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple computers announced to the world the arrival of the Macintosh personal computer. Directed by Ridley Scott, who had just finished the dystopian Blade Runner, and inspired by George Orwell's 1984, the commercial featured a buxom Anya Major, freeing the minds of a slew of human automatons, portrayed by actual skinheads, by throwing a hammer through the IBMesque Big Brother. Watch it if you haven't already.
Recently climbing the YouTube charts is a surprisingly sophisticated video mashup, replacing the Orwellian Big Brother face with that of Senator, and democratic presidential nominee hopeful, Hillary Clinton. The political guerrilla artist/activist swaps in Clinton's face in all of the screens that appear in the ad and uses audio from Clinton's own online video announcement of her candidacy and subsequent "HillCasts." Additionally, the nameless heroine's tank now sports a trendy Obama logo. It is interesting to note that it is not the original ad from 1984 being used, but the 20th anniversary cut shown at 2004 MacWorld Expo where the nameless heroine is sporting an iPod.
The video is making quite a splash, gracing the front page of The San Francisco Chronicle, and has political and media commentators in a tizzy. Looking back at the media firsts the 2004 election set, 2008 is moving right on course. 2004 had Sen. John Edwards announce his candidacy on "The Daily Show," had Howard Dean winning the election (for about a week, according to “the internet”), and had Swift Boat Veterans paying for their own smear campaign. Now, gearing up for 2008, candidates are announcing their candidacy via vlog fireside-chats and battle is being waged on YouTube between political activists.
None of these developments are terribly surprising, but it is refreshing seeing the discussion move outside the blogosphere. However, conventional ad agencies, as well as the media outlets they use, are still trying to nail down by the lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon of “going viral.” Just as Google has yet to capitalize on its $1.65 billion petulant child YouTube, the American political machine has yet to harness the ADHD acrimony of the internet.