COMMERCIAL VAULT
by Adam King


Greetings, gamers. This month I thought I try to expand my column by doing two commercials per month. That's right, twice the nostalgia at half the price.

RealSports Baseball
With March arriving, it won't be long before the baseball fields start filling up again. So my first commercial this month is for Atari's RealSports Baseball. Around 1982, Atari was getting tired with Mattel for saying their Intellivision sports games surpassed their 2600 titles (even though Atari couldn't deny that the INTV sports were superior, and their's, well, sucked). SO they relaunched their sports line under the name RealSports, promising even better sports games on the 2600. For their television ad for one of the games, RealSports Baseball, Atari hired baseball manager Billy Martin to tell how he likes the game. During the ad, which takes place in a locker room, Martin actually takes shots at George Plimpton and the Intellivision, even though he doesn't actually say his name.

BILLY MARTIN: "I've been hearing this other guy talk about his realistic home video baseball game. Well, I've played real baseball. I also played the new Atari RealSports Baseball, and I like it! 'Cause I can hit and run, steal, pick off runners, hey, it's baseball like baseball should be played. And who are you gonna listen to anyhow, that other guy who talks baseball, or a nice guy like me, who lives it?"
ANNOUNCER: "New RealSports Baseball, one in a series, only form Atari."

PICTURES:

 "Watch me talk smack about George Plimton without really doing so."


"What do I think of RealSports Baseball? I LIKE IT!"


"Who's the baseball king now, Intellivision?"


Don't forget, Billy Martin LIKES IT.

Atari also did a similar ad for RealSports Football, only with Ed "Too Tall" Jones.


Cabbage Patch Colecovision
The next commercial was brought to my attention by Sarah Szefer. In around 1983/84, Coleco had two things going for it. They had the Colecovision, the hit arcade system, and they had the top selling Cabbage Patch Kid doll line. So why not do a promotion that combines the two? Coleco had an offer where if you buy a Colecovision you'll receive a free Cabbage Patch doll by mail.

Coleco even put out a television ad for the offer. In this commercial, a girl is trying to convince her parents to buy a Colecovision for her brother because of the games. In truth she's really out to get a free Cabbage Patch doll. This ad is a testament to how stupid Coleco was in handling their Cabbage Patch Kid line. Take a look (sorry about the poor quality).

The girl talks to her mother first:
"Mom you should buy Billy a Colecovision. Then he can play Burgertime. Beside, he ate his Brussel Sprouts."

The girl then sees her father, who's reading a newspaper:
"The Colecovision plays Congo Bongo. And Billy did clean his room."

The father replies, pointing at a newspaper ad:
"This wouldn't have something to do with the free Cabbage Patch Kid?"

The girl, acting innocent, simply says:
"Cabbage Patch?"

The announcer spills out the offer: "Buy a Colecovision and a Coleco Game Cartridge by november 15, we'll send you a free Cabbage Patch kid by Christmas."

Sure enough, in the last scene Billy is enjoying his new Colecovision, and the girl is holding her free Cabbage Patch doll.

Billy: "Wow, a Colecovision! Way to go, Amy!"
Amy: "I did it just for you. (winks)"

The announcer finishes: "When you buy a Colecovision, you make two kids happy."

PICTURES:

"Mom can Billy have a Colecovision so I don't have to buy a doll?"


Mom was a hard sell, so I'll try dad.


"Oh no, he's onto me."


Billy has his Colecovision, Amy has her doll, and everybody's happy, right?

Okay, so according to Coleco, videogames are only for boys, and dolls are only for girls. Certainly a sexist and stereotypical ad from Coleco. For ten-on years I read gaming magazines from female gamers talking about this subject. Maybe it's ads like this that led to this ongoing debate. And that's my 2 cents, as Kent Brockman would say.

What do you think about two commercials per month? Like it, don't like it? Let me know. Also if you gamers out there have a suggestion for a commercial for this column, let me know and I'll see if I can find it.

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