Old and New Ads for Computer Hardware

Even though I try to avoid looking at ads on billboards, television, in newspapers and magazines, and at  websites, it is inevitable that I see them for the millisecond in my mind’s eye. And that is all the time advertising writers need.

Ad copy writers tell viewers  of the unique features of the product compared to competitors (e.g., cost, speed, simplicity of use) and the benefits you will gain from buying it (e.g., efficiency, productivity). Ad writers also try to create positive feelings surrounding the product such as being the first to get the product, or keeping up with the crowd, or  being associated with an admired figure or that it will attract attention from the opposite sex should you buy the product. Psychologists point out that the best ads create positive feelings in viewers leading to increased sales.

In looking at ads for computer hardware over the past 40 years, one can see the features that ad writers stressed, the positive feelings they sought to create, and how many companies were in the hardware market then and are now gone.

Here is a sampling.


1st personal computer 1980

Franklin ad

success starts with computer

two bytes--girls



robots using disks

That was then. What about ads for computer hardware now? Check out contemporary ad writers and their focus on hardware features and continuing efforts to create positive feelings. For those readers who have seen other ads they would like to share, please send them to me.

iPad ad today






And here is an image that writers will soon convert into an ad.

Google glasses


Filed under technology

5 responses to “Old and New Ads for Computer Hardware

  1. I’m loving it, Larry!!

    For more information see website: http://www.deborahmeier.com

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  4. Hi Larry,

    My name is Colleen and I am contacting you on behalf of WEATHERHEAD Experience Design, an exhibit and interactive design firm based in Seattle.

    We are currently putting together an exhibit about computers, and we were wondering if you had a high resolution (600 dpi or higher) image of the Compaq advertisement you posted above (or if you could point us to another source that does). (https://larrycuban.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/compaq-ad1.jpg)

    We are looking to use it in printed graphic panels, so the higher the quality, the better. If you don’t currently have a hi-res file but have a paper copy and could re-scan them to a larger file size per our specifications, that would be great! Alternatively, if you would be willing to send us a paper copy, we could scan it ourselves and return it to you.

    Any information you have on how to obtain a hi-res version of this ad would be very helpful!

    Please email me at colleenl@weatherhead-design.com if you have any information about this. I would have sent you a direct email, but I could not find any contact info on your blog.

    Thank you!

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