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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
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Advertising: Killer of innovation

The title may appear dramatic for what is essentially a comment on the lack of advertising for the Amiga, but it is does show its effects. Anyone here think that the Intel processor is better the than Motorola PowerPC? How about the Alpha, is Intel better than this? If you are an enthusiast who knows anything about computers the answer should be a resounding NO. The Intel, for various reasons, is held back by 20 years of legacy to remain compatible with the past. Unfortunately, it is also the biggest selling processor in the world. So why do people buy an inferior processor? The answer is simple, ADVERTISING. Over the last few years Intel have bombarded the television watching populous with its "Intel Inside" adverts, featuring colourful dancing technicians and three dimensional images showing how much fun computing can be. The market they aim for is the ordinary Joe (or Jane) on the street. Those who know very little about computers, and to be honest, do not want to know. Those who want a box that can be switched on and load a game or application. This is the basis of most consoles- simplicity of use.

CD32 Billboard advert

Now let's examine the Amiga. Have you seen any adverts on television lately? Unlikely, the last one I saw was 1993. Have Amiga International, or anyone else, placed an advert in the popular press emphasizing their support for the Amiga? Nope. The result of this is a lack of knowledge about the Amiga. The only question people ask is, "Can it run Windows 95", to which the reply is "No." (OK, the Amiga can but it isn't fast.) It is a sad state of affairs that when the public think Personal Computer it is almost synonymous with WIntel PC, with the Amiga dismissed as just a "games machine." The public desires compatibility with the latest industry standard applications, and, although many will argue otherwise, the standard is MS Office. The likes of Wordworth may perform the same functions at a fraction of a price but it doesn't have the advertising or even shelf space that Microsoft can dictate.

Commodore advertising

The advertisers focus is not simply restricted to getting their product in the limelight, it also hails it as innovative. During 1995, buzzwords such as "pre-emptive multi-tasking," "task-scheduling," and "Plug and Play" surrounded the Windows 95 launch. When the Amiga was quietly launched in 1985, it had all of these features but did not receive the attention. The blame for this rests with Commodore, who sold the Amiga as a games machine. This label has dogged the Amiga through its entire life and is still felt today. The PC on the other hand was labeled a workstation, making it the standard for offices and a desirable object for the home. This paid off during 1993/94 when the PC made the transition from the office to the home; the Amiga remained a games machine like the Megadrive and SNES.

Amiga International have a difficult task ahead of them, changing the publics view of the Amiga will require a great deal of advertising to even get it back into the limelight. Even Apple have been unable to shake the WIntel domination so how can a computer with three previous owners and years out of the marketplace succeed? Amiga users everywhere can always hope that the Amiga will be advertised properly instead of ignored like Escom and Commodore did. The Amiga already has an advantage up its sleeve- its user base. The informal support that comes from having a community of users who use the system can never be replaced. It is to the user base that the Amiga owes its second life, without the dedicated people who refused to jump ship there would not be an Amiga version of Quake or Doom. Gateway would not create the next generation Amiga system, and finally, there would only be Apple standing between Windows and market domination.

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Last Update: 1/11/2001


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