April 18, 1996: Apple unveils an enormous $15 million promotional tie-in for the Mission: Impossible movie starring Tom Cruise.
Designed to advertise the PowerBook, which Cruise makes use of in the spy flick, the advertising and marketing marketing campaign comes at a very unhealthy time. Making an attempt to climb again into the black after reporting its largest quarterly loss ever, Apple is in the center of making an attempt to carry out its very personal unattainable mission. And that’s simply the beginning of the issues.
Mission: Impossible PowerBook promo
1996 stands as most likely the nadir of Apple’s nasty ’90s. Simply a few weeks earlier than the Mission: Impossible marketing campaign, Apple reported a quarterly lack of $740 million. The surprising scale of the loss — with greater than half coming from $1 billion in unsold merchandise — revealed an organization in far worse form than beforehand thought.
The Mission: Impossible deal was an try and imbue Apple with some a lot-wanted cool.
As a part of the costly marketing campaign, Apple launched a “Mission: Impossible — The Internet Journey” web site, an early instance of on-line movie promoting. (You may nonetheless see Apple’s Mission: Impossible site, though the sport sadly now not works.)
Apple product placement in Mission: Impossible
The deal additionally ensured that the PowerBook 5300c received display screen time in the movie. Sadly, Apple and Paramount Photos signed the deal so late that Cupertino received no enter on the script’s tech components.
Consequently, the Mac proven in the movie makes use of a command-line interface as a substitute of Mac OS. That made it look means behind the Home windows 95 working system then working on PCs.
Even worse, when a very robust job turns up later in the movie, the Mission: Impossible crew’s resident pc skilled advises the usage of nonexistent “Considering Machines laptops.”
Apparently, solely these fictional computer systems may get the job finished. Ouch!
PowerBook 5300: On-display screen and on hearth, however not on retailer cabinets
A ultimate drawback with Apple’s Mission: Impossible marketing campaign: The PowerBook 5300 wasn’t truly in the stores when the movie hit theaters. Quickly after the primary 1,000 PowerBook 5300 models shipped to sellers round the US, information broke that two manufacturing models caught hearth — one on the house of an Apple programmer, the opposite at Apple’s manufacturing unit in China.
“The principle hallmark for Apple is ease of use,” wrote Pieter Hartsook, editor of The Hartsook Letter, on the time. “In case your machine doesn’t work, it’s not simple to make use of.”
Apple issued a recall on the 100 PowerBook 5300s already bought, changing the computer systems with one other mannequin. Sadly, the replacements packed solely two-thirds the arduous drive capability of their predecessors. That pressured Apple to decrease the worth of the laptop computer by $100.
Consequently, moviegoers who noticed the PowerBook 5300 plastered on the silver display screen couldn’t purchase the pc. Not that many individuals may afford the expensive machines: The prime-finish PowerBook 5300ce got here with a $6,500 price tag, making it the costliest Apple laptop computer ever. (Adjusted for inflation, that’s round $12,500 today.)
In some way, Apple pulls off the unattainable
The Mission: Impossible deal definitely did not work out the best way Apple deliberate. Nonetheless, 1996 marked the start of a serious turnaround for the corporate. Earlier than lengthy, Cupertino abandoned its disastrous clone Mac concept, loved just a few surprisingly big hits, and — most importantly of all — introduced Steve Jobs back into the fold with the NeXT acquisition.
Now that’s a Hollywood ending!