System 80 Advertising
Dick Smith Electronics of the early 80s was never short of superlatives regarding new products. These ads tended to feature a smiling Dick Smith and were just bursting with hyperbole and extravagant claims. (the computer of the decade??? err...) This is what made a trip to the Dick Smith store so much fun!
You don't see computer advertisements like this these days. They are interesting from an historic point of view because they show how marketers were starting to deal with a product (i.e. the microcomputer) that was just starting to move away from the hobbyist's soldering iron and into the mainstream.
Click on each thumbnail to see a readable image. Enjoy!
Above: Glossy Australian Ad. Probably early 1981. I used to own the same model of printer shown here. When operating in full flight It gave a "clunk...clunk...clunk" that could be heard through the whole house. Note the monitor, which is actually a modified portable T.V. I had one of these too!
Above: New Zealand Advertisement, also 1981. How many ads for computers these days would also give you a BASIC reference sheet in the middle of the flyer! There is a comparison of the System 80 with the TRS-80 level 1 and level 2 on the back page.
In the two left cells, another Australia Ad, probably 1981. On the right, the first page of a 5-page brochure advertising the System 80 Mark II. Click the picture for a PDF
Here's another one. Judging by the discount prices (and the mention of the Blue Label) I'm picking the ad above was 1983, just as the System 80 was nearing the end of its market life.
Dick Smith. A man of many talents. Here we see Dick as an astronaut (Many computer games at that time had a space theme...blame Star Wars!), a teacher and a pin-striped businessman promoting System-80 software. From a 1982 Dick Smith Catalogue.
Software ads were more than just fun and games! Here is one for targeted specifically for small businesses. Dick Smith's SCAP software PLUS a Disk-based System 80 MKII was all you needed to tame those wearisome stock worries!
Finally, Dick Smith made it easy to purchase these wares and get them devliered to your door via an on-line ordering system. Easy, assuming you had a fully-kitted System 80 with modem that is. Given this was around 1982-1983 it may have been the first on-line shopping service in Australia!
But wait, there's more! These advertisements were donated by Ian Mavric. The example from Electronics Australia may have been the first set of ads ever to appear for the machine. They even mention a 4k model!??
Electronics Australia (October, 1979)
Dick Smith Catalogue (1980)
From Australian Personal Computer (probably sometime in 1981)
Electronics Today International (August 1982)
Dick Smith Catalogue 82/83
Dick Smith Catalogue 83/84
...and just in case you haven't had enough Dick Smith promotion, here are some Electronics Australia February 1982 ones which are also worth a look
- The expanded System 80
- System 80 accessories
- An ad pitched specifically to New Zealanders (This is what my own System 80 cost me!)
- Selected pages from the first New Zealand Dick Smith catalogue (PDF)
- This flyer, probably from 1983, where you could win a Datsun Stanza with any computer purchase. Notice the Vic-20 is now a stocked item, and (remarkably) the Exidy Sorcerer is still on the shelf!
Finally, if you want to see what other weird and wonderful things Dick Smith stocked in those days, check out the 1981 Catalogue! (pdf)