Price war leads to 16-Bt push

It now seems almost certain that the price of the basic 520ST will drop to £299 in the autumn, reestablishing its price diferential over the Amiga

Welsh: Looking to sell 70,000 STs in
the pre-Christmas period.

Paul Welsh, Atari's UK Marketing Manager, confirmed that details were being finalized on a follow-up promotion to the successful Summer Games packs which offered £400 worth of high-quality games in the £399 ST price.

As of September 2nd 1988, Atari dealers will be offering two packages: a basic 520ST at £299, or a bundled deal again of ST plus around Woolworth of games software at £399. Welsh commented, ''We haven't tied up all the games yet, but I expect them to be of the same standard as the Summer Pack, which went very well.'' In other words, they will be repackaged recent full price releases, not budget games.

Welsh added that Atari have earmarked £1.2 million for TV campaigns and advertising in the pre-christmas period, and he expects to shift 70,000 STs. Official Atari figures say there are around 150,000 STs in the UK already, but independent estimates would put it at not much higher than 100,000.

Amiga Assault
Commodore are responding by setting out their plans for a massive advertising campaign leading up to Christmas. Following the recent price cut to £399, the so-called 'Cheese advert' is running in the quality dailies for the late summer extolling the virtues of the A500. A four-week TV campaign is earmarked for the last to first two in weeks in November and December.

Dean Barrett, Welsh's counterpart in Commodore, was optimistic about the Amiga's autumn prospects. “I've got no control over Atari's pricing policy, but we're putting our biggest ever push into this year” he said. ''Last year we only spent a million or so, this year we'll be at least treble that with the bulk of the spend in the pre-christmas period” The theme of the TV ads hasn't been finalized yet, but Barrett added sardonically, “They won't be featuring the Chelsea football team”

The advertising campaign begun two years ago by Apple to push its Macintosh as a specialist DTP system rather than a general-purpose computer is widely credited with turning round the fortunes of the company.

Commodore may well be hoping for a repeat of 'the Apple effect’ by pitching its high-end A2000 range machines at specific vertical markets rather than general all-purpose micros. It's no secret that Commodore are putting together package based around the Amiga, although as yet the components haven't been named. A suitable minimum configuration system would be a twin disk drive A2000 running Professional Page, maybe with a high resolution monitor, at around £1500 excluding any printer.


ST Format Shrine
Page last updated: 23 October 2011
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