Jay Chiat died of cancer Tuesday; he was 70 years old. Chiat was founder of Chiat-Day, the ad company that created Apple’s famous “1984” television advertisement. According to a TBWA-Chiat-Day spokesperson, Chiat died in his home in Marina Del Rey, Calif.
Although Chiat and his agency had a host of memorable ads to their credit, the one that the company is always remembered for is “1984,” which heralded the release of the Macintosh and forever set Apple apart from other computer companies.
The ad, directed by acclaimed motion picture director Ridley Scott, was shown during the 1984 Super Bowl. Inspired by George Orwell’s cautionary novel of the same name, the 1984 ad showed a dystopian vision of the future populated by shambling, grey-suited automatons forced to watch a giant screen. A woman dressed in a t-shirt with a stylized Macintosh logo emerges from the shadows and charges at a giant screen, throwing a hammer that causes it to explode.
Chiat’s career started at Leland Oliver Co. in the mid-50s, as a copywriter. In 1962 he struck out on his own, eventually merging his ad agency with Guy Day’s and forming Chiat-Day. TBWA bought Chiat-Day in 1995.