Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When Hawkeye Hawked Computers

 
Image via Mamecade

A computer/technology pioneer and the cast of a sitcom that never showed a single PC on the set during their run…a match made in advertising heaven!

According to an old L.A. Times article, the cast of M*A*S*H* replaced the Charlie Chaplin lookalike that IBM was previously using to promote their computers in the late 80s. The president of the agency that created the campaign said that M*A*S*H* was a natural fit for the new strategy because they represented teamwork. By the time these ads aired/ran, the popular show had been off the air for five years. Maybe the executives also felt that American consumers would appreciate seeing familiar faces to shill computing products. Then again, lots of celebs were showing up in computer print ads and commercials around this time...Bill Cosby for Texas Instruments, Bill Bixby and Tandy and William Shatner pitching Commodore were just some of the celebrity endorsements for computers during the 80s. Whatever the reason, the second commercial spot here looks like a M*A*S*H*/The Office....er, mashup:




A few years before this campaign, Alan Alda was the spokesman for Atari computer products. Is it just me, or is this commercial a little unsettling? What the heck is Alda doing dressing in a college boy's room, if he isn't his father? Shouldn't Hawkeye be checking out the girls' dorms?

2 comments:

  1. Great post pam; I cannot figure out the dynamic either - law office? college prof?. Buying top talent was de rigueur; you would not believe the product introduction shindigs. As a vintage software engineer and card carrying geek I still have my original Atari 800 and 800XL, and several Amigas, which get fired up every now and then.
    s-a-h-d

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Stay at Home Dad! I must admit I'm still puzzled over that Atari commercial. You should do a search sometime for the vintage computer festival; I think you'd get a kick out of the photos and the equipment that people bring to it.

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