Before eCommerce, we had mail order….

The Commodore Nav 60

Way before there was eCommerce, we had mail order.

This was my first job out college (Antioch College) in 1976. It was in the spring of ’77 that I was writing these ads for a company owned by Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore and then Atari (for a while).

Contemporary Marketing was a direct response mail order company based in Bensenville, Ill, near the airport.

We were the mail order outlet for Commodore.

We used mail order first, before products went into retail distribution. Back then, there was no Best Buy or even Crazy Eddies. Radio Shack ruled.

People would see our ads, call an 800 number or buy them with a credit credit.

Kind of what you might do on Amazon, or the Apple online store, but we had no Internet then.

Dell pioneered this too.

I had no clue what I was writing. I would get on the phone with Commodore engineers, and interview them. I would add superlatives to the copy, add in some imagination, and tested various approaches.

Back then, we could run different ads in the eastern edition, the mid-west edition, even metro NYC to test price points and text of The Wall Street Journal, which was a wonderful medium for these types of products.

We had no analytics.

We did this with calculators.

We used logic and common sense.

Soon thereafter, came the Commodore PET. This was before the VIC 20 or Commodore 64.

Amazing to look back on this artifacts of tech history I was fortunate to be part of….