Technology has changed over the past 25 years. In the early 70’s the first call was made over a cell phone. It seemed like only rich or important business people had cell phones. The phones were big and bulky and only made standard calls. In today’s society it seems like everyone, even kids as young as ten years old, have a cell phone that can do much more than call someone.
Computers and gaming systems have also changed quite a bit too. Computers do much more than type up word documents and play solitaire. Today’s gaming systems have amazing graphics and some systems are even small enough to fit in your pocket.
Technology is always changing. When something is “new and improved” it’s only a matter of time before something new and better will be out to replace it. Here is a list of some old technology advertisements from when the products first came out.
1. Commodore 64 Commercial (1985)
This Commodore 64 commercial aired in 1985 and the catch phrase was “Are you keeping up with the Commodore because the Commodore is keeping up with you”.Well 25 years later, the Commodore has given up and is no longer keeping up with us.
2. IBM Computer Commercial 1986
This commercial for IBM computers came out in 1986 and would be a good commercial today’s society. The Charlie Chaplin character makes it entertaining and fun to watch.
3. Who’s Keeping Up With Commodore?
This 1983 advertisement for the Commodore Executive 64 is saying that the product is meant to be used by important business men because it is a portable computer. Now basically everyone has their own computer, even kids. Apparently chest waxing didn’t exist in the 80’s – this was acceptable at the time.
4. 1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial
So according to this commercial put out by Apple in 1984, people that will be using the Macintosh computer will be in prison and will have to depend on some blonde girl with a hammer to break them out? While it seems odd now, it was cutting edge for the time and was directed by famous director Ridley Scott of Blade Runner fame.
5. Legend of Zelda Japanese Ad
This Japanese commercial for Zelda has got to be one of the most entertaining commercials of all time. It has a fight scene, line dancing, rap song and a happy ending. Could it get any better?
It’s likely that every Star Trek fan that saw this commercial went out and bought the Commodore Vic-20. If William Shatner is telling you to buy the computer, then you’d better buy the computer. Anyone else remember “Attack of the Blue Meanies”? Shooting squares was so awesome back then.
8. Kevin Costner In Apple Ad
Once again a computer company using a celebrity to make you want to buy their product. Not too sure on what Apple’s point is in this commercial though. Maybe they are telling you that you too can feel like Kevin Costner if you use an Apple. You know, like a non-English Robin Hood, or a postman in post-apocalyptic America. Because that’s attractive.
9. AMTS Car-phone
This advertisement for the AMTS car-phone tells people that they can make business calls while they are on their way to work and get a “head start on your competition”. Yes, “one of these cars is already at the office” and today in some places would also be paying a pricey ticket for talking on the phone while driving.
10.1989 Centel First Cell Phone Ad
This 1989 first Centel cell phone advertisement looks more like an trailer for a really bad 80’s film.
Atari came out in 1977 and you certainly couldn’t compare it to any other video game.
12. Game Genie Commercial
The Game Genie apparently allows you play video games better than you normally would. The commercial gets the point across but is just a little too creepy for my liking and it looks like it’s trying to convey a Nightmare on Elm Street vibe.
13. Nintendo (NES) Commercial
This 80’s Nintendo commercial is reminiscent of 80’s science fiction movies and has people in silver jumpsuits playing NES in what looks like the hallway of a spaceship.
14. 1986 Mobile Phones
This commercial is a rundown of all the cell phones from the 80’s and makes you glad that they no longer look like that, if a little wistful that Saved by the Bell is in reruns.
15. Atari Pole Position Commercial
This commercial has everything in it to make an awesome commercial. It has fast cars, racing and explosions. They only thing it doesn’t have is more footage of what the game actually looks like. This commercial makes that game seem more fun than it probably really is.
16. Apple Print Advertisement
Ben Franklin used an Apple computer to create his kite design? You can bet that some kids saw this and actually believed it. Leave it up to Apple to make history seem more interesting.
17. Steve Ballmer Sells Windows 1.0
This commercial shows an over enthused Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft since 2000, promoting Windows 1.0. This was apparently supposed to be a mock ad but it seems pretty convincing. Ballmer should maybe think of taking over the ShamWow guy’s job as a side project.
18. Super Mario All Stars Commercial
What is the capital of Ohio? Mario. What is two plus two? Mario. What is taller than the Empire State Building and Eiffle Tower? Mario. What is the answer for everything? Mario.
Nintendo is really stressing their point in this commercial that playing Mario is the best thing to do.
The Quizagon is apparently a party game and a game for people who want to challenge their minds about science, sports, entertainment and potpourri. The questions about sports, science and entertainment make sense but who wants to know about potpourri?
20. Commodore 64
This advertisement makes a good point about personal computers being over priced for everyone to own them but they could have put that the Commodore 64 is under $600 in bigger font so that it is more noticeable. I almost didn’t see it.
21. Penril Modems
So is this advertisement from Penril talking about modems or the woman in this ad as being sexy, versatile, dependable and compatible?
22. Technico Inc TMS9900
Technico is also proving that sex sells when it comes to advertising but if they were trying to get across that these women were vampires you would think that they would have made them look more like vampires. You’ve got to admit, that 4800 baud modem looks lightning fast.
This LMBS advertisement from 1991 makes no sense at all. The description at the side is fine but what is with Elvira, and why is she holding a chainsaw that is trying to look like a computer or something. It’s just one of those ads that boggles your mind.
24. Maxell Floppy Disks
This ad for Maxell floppy disks plays on everyone’s love for C3P0 and 5 1/4″ floppy discs.
25. Apple Computer’s Take On Adam and Eve
This is Apple’s play on the story of Adam and Eve. The ad is asking customers to write an interesting story about what people use their Apple Computers for.
26. Bill Cosby and Texas Instruments
This advertisement for Texas Instruments Home Computer Program Library came out when Bill Cosby was one of the top comedians and a household name.
27. IBM Personal Computer
Once again IBM decided to put out another advertisement about their personal computers that featured the Charlie Chaplin character. They should go back to using this guy because he makes the ads entertaining.
28. Compaq Computer Commercial
Having a commercial with actor John Cleese disagreeing with the narrator and falling off the chair at the end makes one good commercial.
29. John Cleese Compaq Computer
There is nothing more boring and annoying than listening to someone try to explain how something works but they are talking too fast to follow along. Thank God for John Cleese and his bow and arrow to shut this guy up and make the commercial funny.
30. 80’s Radio Shack Color Computer Commercial
In today’s society these kids wouldn’t be rushing home to do their home work on their computer. They would be rushing home to tell their parents that they had a lot of homework to do on the computer but would end up playing games on it all night instead.
Sources: Found in Mom’s Basement, Wired, Bluefaqs, TechEBlog, 2Spare
These are really cool… Thanks for sharing, and nice site!
how old is the damn author? now i didn’t go through the whole list but the comment regarding apple’s ad in 1984 told me straight away about the author’s lack of cultural education. the fact that the ad came out in 1984 and the setting in the ad resembled that of George Orwell’s 1984 is probably no coincidence. additionally, it is reasonable to say that apple was relating microsoft’s monopoly of the computer industry to that of a totalitarian regime, thus urging the user to “break away” and buy apple products instead.
the author’s lack of depth makes me believe the article took him half an hour to write.
on a less serious/more trivial note, in the third ad you state how chest hair must’ve been accepted at the time. do you think everyone waxes their chest hair in today’s times? how deluded are you?
You sir should demand your money back. How dare this person write (in your opinion) a sub-par article! I am insulted for you that you had to read this! *puts monocle back on face, adjusts top hat, and storms out*
I think you got almost all of the majors except for the TRS-80.
The 4800 baud “modem” in #22 is actually a 4800 baud cassette recorder. Yes, they used to use audio cassettes to record and play back data on early systems. Also, I’m pretty sure the floppy disks in #24 are 8″, not 5-1/4″. They were often used to backup data on mainframe computers.
#26 isn’t an ad – it’s a cover for a Texas Instruments software catalogue.