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Schnurrikowski

Atari VCS marketing

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VCS didn't need marketing. We saw it we wanted it. Stuff was so new back then that even a blip on Saturday morning cartoons or a mere mention in any publication did the job.

 

But I'm sure Atari produced "press-kits" and materials on how to display stuff throughout the years because I've seen all kinds of scattershot scans and stuff now and then. Some here, some elsewhere. Maybe internet archive has something. A guess..

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I don't know if anyone has written about it specifically. There are a few basic trends though - a focus on kids as the target audience, a focus on specific games once Space Invaders came out in 1980 and was a huge hit - but broadly speaking from what I've dug through they generally promoted that it had a sizable library of a mix of games. 

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On 2/16/2021 at 4:22 AM, Schnurrikowski said:

Hi Guys! Is there any specific literature concerned with Atari's advertising campaign (US and Europe) for the VCS from 1977 onwards?

I've got a few Atari company binder catalogs that might have something...they are in my basement somewhere, I'll try to dig them out this weekend (warning, I'm seriously lazy so this weekend probably means next weekend, etc..)

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What's  interesting is that I don't recall any advertising early on. First time I heard about 2600/vcs was when my friend got one for christmas 1978. His dad had a computer related job and so he heard about it and got one.... I guess mostly because HE wanted to play with it.  But I thought it was cool and wanted one too.  It was a few years before I did though. But I also don't  remember regular commercials for it, or it being a thing that everyone wanted until 1979 or 1980.

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On 2/27/2021 at 6:42 PM, eegad said:

What's  interesting is that I don't recall any advertising early on. First time I heard about 2600/vcs was when my friend got one for christmas 1978. His dad had a computer related job and so he heard about it and got one.... I guess mostly because HE wanted to play with it.  But I thought it was cool and wanted one too.  It was a few years before I did though. But I also don't  remember regular commercials for it, or it being a thing that everyone wanted until 1979 or 1980.

That's the same for me. Back in '77/'78, I had several handheld games, and my friends had several others as well. If any of us had seen commercials or ads for the 2600, we all would have been hyped. This was back when we watched Sat. morning cartoons as well, so we would have been targeted by commercials.

 

The first time I saw a 2600 was when my dad (he was in the Army) had CQ and one of the soldiers in the barracks was playing combat in the day room. I had played the Tank arcade machine, so seeing a similar game being played on a TV caught my attention quickly. I played two player against that soldier for several hours and had to be dragged away. If I had seen that on TV beforehand, I would have begged for a 2600.

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On 2/26/2021 at 8:21 AM, ubersaurus said:

...a focus on kids as the target audience...

This is interesting considering, at least early on, Atari also advertised in the likes of Playboy magazine, and some of the earliest television commercials depict grown middle-aged men freaking out about the console. And I'm not sure how much Don Knotts or Carol Channing would have resonated with children in the late '70s (I could see Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Pete Rose, though).

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4 hours ago, BassGuitari said:

This is interesting considering, at least early on, Atari also advertised in the likes of Playboy magazine, and some of the earliest television commercials depict grown middle-aged men freaking out about the console. And I'm not sure how much Don Knotts or Carol Channing would have resonated with children in the late '70s (I could see Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Pete Rose, though).

Initially the home video games, like Pong, where marketed towards adults as something to do with their televisions besides watch broadcasted shows.  And around that time young adults & teens hung around the arcades.  But children were more open minded towards new stuff like video games than their adult parents so they played more and became "better".  Later on it was decided that video games were 'just for kids" and that's how Nintendo marketed them.

 

It wasn't till the 90's that video gaming had an older audience, it wasn't that video games only appealed to a certain age group and only that (like toys) but to post-Boomer generations that grew up with it constantly who didn't see it as a mere fad.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, BassGuitari said:

This is interesting considering, at least early on, Atari also advertised in the likes of Playboy magazine, and some of the earliest television commercials depict grown middle-aged men freaking out about the console. And I'm not sure how much Don Knotts or Carol Channing would have resonated with children in the late '70s (I could see Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Pete Rose, though).

Grown adults were a market, but children were considered a lucrative group to sell to because teenagers were more likely to go to the (at the time sleazier) arcades to play games at.

Edited by ubersaurus
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 Remember that fake Stevie Wonder joke ad that was circulating the internet a while back?

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