Technological innovations such as the diminishing cost of hardware and increasing computer miniaturization created new markets for computers during the 1970s. Small offices could take advantage of low-cost minicomputers or gain access to mainframes through time sharing services. Hobbyists could also purchase computer kits, specifically marketed to them. By the late 1970s IBM’s market share had slipped to 40%.
The early 1980s saw the first mass market advertising of computers. Computers were available for personal use due to the diminishing costs of machines. However, manufacturers first had to convince people that they needed a computer in their home.
They made use of well-known celebrities as spokespersons: Dick Cavett for Apple; Bill Cosby for Texas Instruments; William Shatner for Commodore; Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” for IBM; and Alan Alda for Atari.
Apple and IBM had some of the most successful campaigns during the decade. Apple aired its “1984” commercial during the Super Bowl, introducing an innovative personal computer to smash Orwellian competitors.