Advertisements of the 1950's
Advertisements border every street corner, are heard endlessly on the radio, and plaster the television. They subconsciously affect us and our decisions. The 1950’s brought the evolution of the personal computer along with its advertisements. Fifty years ago advertisements had to sell the computer and beginning models to skeptical consumers. Companies had to produce what people wanted, something to make their lives easier. They were selling to skeptics who couldn’t see the true utility a computer could have and would have in the future. Effective advertising was essential for companies to promote the capabilities the machines had. 1950’s advertisements mainly focused on the utility, changes they could make for the consumer, and created a fan base for the company.
Affordability of the computer was important at the time, as it still is now. Consumers wanted fast processors with large memory for an affordable price. With rapidly changing technology of the time, some companies were able to offer this to consumers. Computers were changing with day to day innovations in speed, memory and the utility of the computer. Ad’s during the booming computer days made points to attract attention to those specific points. Once consumers and those doubtful of the true value of the computer saw the difference maker it was, they were more likely to also purchase a computer.
At the dawn of the computer, the advertisements steered away from colorful advertisements with little use of creative slogans and puns. Ads from the 1950’s have paragraphs explaining what exactly is being sold. The steep price for what people considered calculating machines made the first consumers of the computer to be skeptical of an expensive purchase. Propaganda techniques of the 1950’s are focused on informative, bland ads, giving an introduction to the new computer technology. Much like today, celebrity endorsements for computers were also used to sell their products. Companies had to claim to be the best to be a top competitor in the computer market. With the general public having little education on personal computers, the ads stating the use of the computer had to be understandable for all users. They needed to appeal to a larger base of people to compete in the market.
Beginning as a business machine, the computer then evolved into the personal computer. Computer industries still needed to appeal to the businesses because they were still a large part of their profits. Businesses needed efficient operation with the help of computers and machines. IBM during the 1950’s geared many of their ads to the businesses in need of a computer to speed daily production and the efficiency of their operations. The IBM 650 put many uses for the business computer into one. The complex computer shifted from job to job more efficiently- from inventory, payroll, analysis and productive planning. Competition was growing for computer producers. The ads were vital to reach many businesses and consumers. The use of the increasing technology in the workplace at the time significantly changed the lives of those working.
The use of clever word-play was also used in a variety of ads throughout the twenty years the computer was evolving. For example, the use of the pun “two bytes are better than one.” The ad was in reference to the increased memory and speed of the microprocessor. The ad was run showing the catchy word play with an image to catch the appeal of a young base of consumers. Technico International made many claims for their highly specialized computers, much like other businesses at the time. Companies, much like today, made a point to appeal to naïve consumers that believed the individual in the ad could be them. They took advantage of this technique to sell their products and gain leverage in the market place.
Computers, from the beginning stages of development, have been effective for businesses, individuals and the military. Many technological advances have been made with the military in mind. With many advances in warfare, the computer had to be further developed to keep up to date with the intelligence of World War II. Advertisements of the 1950’s used this as another technique in advertising strategy. The advertisement for the airborne computer advertised the developments of the time. People begin to truly see the computer will begin to have in their lives, whether it is personally or at a larger scale for military defense.
Computer advertisers made a point to appeal to many different consumers. Businesses had to adapt to the changing times and advancements in technology to continue to compete and to keep efficiency in the workplace. Individuals would begin to see the utility the computer would have through the advertisements for the ever changing computer.
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