Intellivision FAQ Section 5.0 Marketing

Intellivision Master Component model 2609

The Classic Intellivision FAQ

Composed, arranged, and produced by Intv Prime, Artifact Productions Division

Section 5.0: Marketing

Organizations, activities, and items that communicate the Intellivision’s fun factor.

  • 5.1 Clubs
  • 5.2 Advertising
  • 5.3 Swag and Tchotchke
  • 5.4 Personal Displays

5.1: What was the Imagic Numb Thumb Club?

Numb Thumb Club was a fun club and social organization from Imagic that published a short-lived newsletter, ran high scoring contests, and bestowed posters and patches to loyal gamers.

5.1: What is the Intelliclub?

The Intellivision Enthusiasts Club began in 2021 as a way to access new 21st Century games in a managed way. Organized by Intellivision Revolution, it offers exclusive merchandise and game releases.

5.2: Why did graphics in catalogs not match games?

In an effort to generate as much hype and drive console sales as possible, Mattel Electronics marketing released art mockups before some games were even designed. Dungeons & Dragons Cloudy Mountain ad mockups even changed multiple times from catalog to catalog before the game was released (not to mention the cartridge space expanded to 6k which changed how the game looked/played).

DnD Markup 1 DnD Markup 2

5.2: Were contests held using Dr. Pepper?

Dr. Pepper played a role in 1981 marketing by providing a chance to win an Astrosmash or Lock-n-Chase video game after opening a can.

5.2: What original promotional music can I hear about the Intellivision?

The ultimate fan song "My Intellivision" is out there, as well as some others that make use of heavy samples from the 1980s and synths. Once they play, you can’t un-hear it. Enjoy!

5.2: What songs are included in Intellivision games?

Game Song
Loco Motion Railroad Bill
Sub Hunt Ride of the Valkryies
Horse Racing William Tell Overture
Horse Racing First Call
Electric Company Math Fun Electric Company Theme
ABPA Backgammon 1812 Overture
Masters of the Universe Main Theme
Scooby Doo’s Maze Chase Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Thunder Castle Abdelazer Suite
Magic Carousel Maple Leaf Rag
Rock n Bullwinkle Adventures of Rocky n Bullwinkle Theme

5.2: What is the closest thing to the real thing?

"The Closest Thing to the Real Thing" was the lead campaign slogan from George Plimpton (see 4.1) in Intellivision commercials from the early 1980’s. Comparing baseball and golf games on the Atari VCS/2600 made George’s words ring true!

This was spoofed on 1982 "Not Necessarily the News" comedy show.

5.2: What kind of advertising did Mattel do for Intellivision?

In addition to named campaigns, various commercials were aired over the years.

  • Lock n Chase (George Plimpton, Henry Thomas). Matted hired one of the main actors of the movie ET after Atari had spent millions on marketing their game, and threatened to sue Mattel if the child’s name was used.

5.2: Why were advertised games different from actual releases?

Mattel Electronics Marketing often made designs and games without consulting any programmers about what was being made. For example, APh made the games Advent and Minotaur (the development names for Cloudy Mountain and Tarmin) operating under Mattel’s "Preliminary Design" umbrella; they were designed to match what the system could do in 6K/8K. When marketing saw them they thought they could increase their sales by attaching an AD&D license and so arranged for a shotgun marriage. And, to no one’s surprise, many users of the day commented and even complained that the cartridges’ play was nothing like that of AD&D.

5.2: Was the Intellivision advertised in newspapers?

Mattel Electronics marketing department went through multiple newspaper campaigns over the classic console lifetime. See the media link for a large depot hosted by "Intellivision Dude" Google Drive.

5.2: How was print media advertising for the Intellivision?

Mattel Electronics fairly heavily marketed the console and entire "game machine today and computer tomorrow" paradigm.

5.2: Were games rented to people in the UK?

Radio Rentals rented televisions and appliances via Thorn group (EMI records) and they rented out inty cartridges.

TVs cost a lot in the 70s and early 80s and had reliability problems, so most people rented them. Thorn were involved in the early KC development on the tape side.

5.2: Was Intellivision advertised in comic books?

Mattel Electronics tried to reach the kid market in 1982/1983 with advertising for most action-packed games. Marvel Comics contained full-page cover ads for Tron Deadly Discs, Burgertime, Lock-n-Chase, AD&D, Super Cobra, Masters of the Universe, Kool Aid Man, Bump-n-Jump, and Treasure of Tarmin.

5.2: What Intellivision TV ads were shown?

Mattel Electronics pushed very few ads, compared to the competition. See media links.

5.2: What Intellivision TV ads were shown by stores?

Sellers like the Hills chain and other advertised the Intellivision in the early days. Note how many refer to the games as "video tapes".

5.2: What Mattel Electronics partners advertised?

Mickey Mantle endorsed the PlayCable (see section 2.6) in many video commercials. During the 1980s, an "influencer" had to be a celebrity, not anyone with a social media account and desire.

5.2: Where did Intellivision appear on television?

  • Television Show "If You were the Last": TBD, but seen in trailer.
  • Television Show "The Americans": Episode "Episode". Kid begging to buy an Intellivision. Playing Astrosmash.
  • Television Show "Chuck": Episode "Episode". NFL Football box on the shelf near toy Donkey Kong Bongos and TRON poster.
  • Television Show "Family Feud": Episode "1985": "Name a popular video game system from early 80s." Result #2.
  • Television Show "Knight Rider": Episode "Nobody Does it Better". Auto Racing to track a car.
  • Television Show "Knight Rider": Episode "Deadly Manuevers". Testing a car driving game.
  • Television Show "Knight Rider": Episode "Space Cadet"
  • Movie "Grandma’s Boy": Frog Bog inclusion and background props.
  • "SCTV": Episode "Merv Griffin Special Edition" (8:15 time mark)
  • "SCTV": Episode "The Russian Show" (14:15 mark, "bring the Intellivision")
  • "Gallagher Show": "Sledge o matic!" (3:30 mark)
  • Movie "The Toy": Intellivision retail display in department store.
  • Movie "Free Guy": 22:45: Intellivision on the shelf in the background, SNES is nearby.
  • Book "Star Wars Q&A About Computers" by Fred D’Ignazio: Page 4, C-3PO is playing Intellivision Demon Attack (2nd stage).

5.2: Has the Intellivision been mentioned personally in public?

The band Rush includes a nod to Intellivision Baseball in the album "Signals" liner notes in "Most Valuable Perons". Apparently member Geddy Lee became a baseball fan in the 70’s, and his love of the game expanded into playing so much, the console had to be thanked.

5.2: Was the Intellivision showcased at CES?

(Walter Ives)> Mattel, personified in Ray Wagner and Art Spear, was always planning to conduct a market test before any larger release: the whole schedule slipped by about a year. At 1978 Winter CES Rochlis was secretly alerting select major retailers that Mattel expected to ship product by that Christmas; at 1979 Winter CES the system was the highlight of the Mattel booth and the industry news at the time reported Master Components would be available by June 1 with an MSRP of $165. In an unusual twist, the only part of the project that was ready in time was the software. Well, Football may have been a hair late for masked ROMs to been fabricated by Christmas 1978, but was easily ready in time to have made the June 1979 date.

CES 1982 (21:15, 22:28, 26.05 in Youtube link)

5.3: Were book covers made with Intellivision game themes?

For school students in the 1980s, hardcover books were required to be covered by students. Most anyone in the USA over age 35 remembers having to find grocery paper bags and wrapping their books for protection. Mattel Electornics capitalized on this idea with the coolest covers, ever.

5.3: What is the employee paperweight?

The "We’ve got Momentum" paperweight was given out in the final days of Mattel Electronics in 1983 as souvenirs ‘good job’, along with jars of candy and leftover trade show pens.

Programers had asked for their names on games, royalties on what they developed, and offices with doors. But they got things like the paperweight.

5.3: Do Intellivision-branded items exist?

Keith Robinson and Steve Roney did a great job of producing classic branded items like water bottles, mugs, Christmas tree ornaments, official Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack playing cards, Space Armada paper weights. Prior to this, Mattel Electronics tried local branding around the Video Game Crash time period, for example with USFL footballs for the Los Angeles Express.

5.3: Was Intellivision advertised in movie theaters?

An innovate 35mm reel commercial was played before mainstream movies across the USA in 1982. The narrators are live-action people with pixelated rotoscope process to make their blockiness match the games they advertised.

5.4: What did retailers have to learn to sell Intellivision?

Mattel Electronics distributed training and pre-sales marketing material in 1979 for retailers, and a 3/4" video tape for showing behind closed doors to exclusive parties.

5.4: What was the Intellivision Kiosk?

Mattel engineering developed "Point of Purchase Display" ("POP") units for in-store trials for the public in (non-Sears) stores. Each seems to have contained an Intellivision peripheral, model #3806, similar to a turbo charged Videoplexer, a "POPlexer", with the ability to read the intro headers from conventional Mattel releases and show a game title dynamically, unlike others where the menu or games were hardcoded.
This was also termed "Kiosk Multiplexer"

In the 1970s-1980s, a "kiosk" meant an external drive-up shack like a Fotomat, but currently it primarily means an indoor partitioned special-purpose space.

5.4: What was the Sears Kiosk?

Sears created specialized kiosks with their Super Video Arcade (Sears-branded Intellivision). It was cobbled together from existing parts, rather than the fully integrated unit with cartridge multiplexer like the Mattel Electronics version. This Kiosk Multiplexer has ROM code that detects the Sears Intellivision and shows different text versus when a Mattel Intellivision is detected.

Stamp: 2023-11-26T03:29:17

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