Apple users are like "brothers- and sisters-in-arms", according to a report examining modern customer relationships with brands.

The report, published by Psychology Today, states that "by presenting itself as the anti-IBM, Apple is the computer for those who shun the domineering image of Big Blue”.

It continued: "This approach can be traced from the historic 1984 television ad that depicted Macintosh computers as a tool to fight Orwellian oppression caused by widespread PC use.”

The ad was aired just once – during the 1984 Superbowl – but is still considered by many to be one of the most notable ads ever.

The report concluded: "Apple presents itself as unique. It invites users to think of themselves as revolutionary – even though by buying and supporting Apple they're really just responding to another marketer's push.

"Apple thus created a ‘meme’ – a term the Darwinian biologist Richard Dawkins coined to describe self-replicating cultural elements. The meme lives outside of Apple advertisements, effectively turning its customers into a quasi-sales force. While most computers can be mistaken for one another, Apple computers stand out."

Speaking to Psychology Today, Susan Fournier, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, said: "For a larger than average number of people, Microsoft forms a master-slave relationship."