MT Rainey on the iconic Apple '1984' Super Bowl ad and her career as a master planner

In 1984 Apple launched the Macintosh computer with a TV commercial that aired just once during the Super Bowl. The ad cemented the Super Bowl as the advertiser showcase.

Responsible for the iconic commercial was media planner MT Rainey who convinced Steve Jobs and the board at Apple to take a risk on the one-time ad.

Released as part of The Drum and the School of Communication Arts (SAC) series, Creative Leads, a new documentary which you can watch in full above takes a deeper look at the commercial and explores Rainey’s career after Apple.

Rainey started her career in account management at TBWA under John Bartle before going to the US to teach Americans about the art of planning.

In 1984 she was tasked with selling the already produced Apple Macintosh commercial to the board and to Steve Jobs. In the film, Rainey explains how the board wasn’t happy with the idea and sent her out all over the US to run focus groups and understand if the ad would work.

Through gritted teeth, the board allowed the ad to air only once during the Super Bowl hoping it wouldn’t be watched. Little did they know it would become one of the most iconic commercials of all time.

Beyond Apple, Rainey reflects on her other career highlights from helping Virgin Atlantic shake its rock 'n' roll reputation to putting the Vauxhall Astra on the map.

The film includes commentary from the likes of Lee Clow, Jim Kelly, Helen Weavers, David Abraham, Andy Nairm and Alison Copus.

Kelly, who founded Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe agency alongside Rainey, calls MT the “first rockstar planner who showed planning could be a headline act for an agency”.

Fellow planner at Rainey’s agency, Helen Weavers, says: “MT relishes the opportunity to be disruptive and very overtly challenging the status quo.”

Stay tuned to thedrum.com for more films from the Creative Leads series with upcoming documentaries celebrating the careers of Alexandra Taylor, Sir John Hegarty and Tony Brignull.