April 18,
Apple unveils an enormous $15 million promotional
tie-in for the Mission: Inconceivable film starring Tom

Designed to
promote the PowerBook, which Cruise makes use of within the spy flick, the
advertising marketing campaign comes at a very dangerous time. With Apple
making an attempt to climb again into the black after reporting its

largest quarterly loss ever, the corporate is within the center
of making an attempt to carry out its very personal unimaginable mission. And
that’s simply the beginning of the issues.

The appropriate transfer on the incorrect time

Mission: Impossible The Web AdventureAre you sufficiently old
to have performed this?
Picture: Paramount Footage/Apple

stunning 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.

Mission: Inconceivable deal was an try to imbue Apple
with some much-needed cool. As a part of the costly marketing campaign,
Apple launched a “Mission: Inconceivable — The Internet
Journey” website, an early instance of on-line film promoting.
(You may nonetheless
see Apple’s Mission: Inconceivable website, though the
recreation sadly now not works.)

Apple product placement in Mission: Inconceivable

The deal additionally ensured that the
PowerBook 5300c obtained display screen time within the film.
Sadly, the deal between Apple and Mission:
studio Paramount Footage obtained signed
so late that Apple had no say within the script’s tech components.

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Because of this, the Mac proven within the film makes use of a command-line
interface as a substitute of Mac OS, making it look method behind the
Home windows 95 working system then working on PCs. Worse, when a
significantly powerful job turns up later within the film,
the Mission: Inconceivable group’s resident
pc knowledgeable advises the usage of nonexistent “Pondering
Machines laptops,” since solely these fictional computer systems may
get the job carried out.

PowerBook 5300:
On display screen and on fireplace, however not on retailer cabinets

A last drawback with Apple’s Mission: Inconceivable
marketing campaign: The PowerBook 5300 wasn’t truly in the stores
when the film hit theaters. Quickly after the primary 1,000
PowerBook 5300 items shipped to sellers across the United
States, information broke that two manufacturing items caught fireplace — one
on the house of an Apple programmer, the opposite at Apple’s
manufacturing facility in China.

“The primary hallmark for Apple is ease of use,”
wrote Pieter Hartsook,
editor of The Hartsook Letter, on the time. “If
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. When the
replacements turned out to pack solely two-thirds the arduous drive
capability of their predecessors, Apple was compelled to decrease the
worth of the laptop computer by $100.

Because of this, moviegoers who noticed the PowerBook 5300 plastered on
the silver display screen couldn’t purchase the pc for themselves.
Not that many individuals may afford the expensive machines:
The top-end PowerBook 5300ce got here with a $6,500 price ticket,
making it the costliest Apple laptop computer ever. (Adjusted for
inflation, that’s round $10,200 right now.)

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Apple pulls off the unimaginable

Whereas the Mission:
deal didn’t work out fairly the way in which Apple
deliberate, 1996 marked the start of a significant turnaround for
the corporate. Earlier than lengthy, Cupertino
deserted its disastrous clone Mac idea, loved a couple of

surprisingly huge hits, and — most importantly of all —
introduced Steve Jobs
again into the fold with the NeXT acquisition.

Now that’s a Hollywood ending!