Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WANG - We're Gunning For IBM!

WANG - We're Gunning For IBM!
WANG - We're Gunning For IBM!  That was the slogan WANG Labs Inc. the computer hardware and software maker launched during Superbowl XX in 1986.  It was a bold strategy for Wang Labs, the global computer giant most notable for Wang Word Processors and Engineering computers.  Wang was rapidly losing market share through a series of bad decisions during the mid-eighties concerning staying proprietary or jumping on the IBM and Microsoft bandwagon.  Dr. An Wang was an inventor, far ahead of his time, rolling out Wang Imaging, global WangNet, Integrated Office Software platforms, integrated Voice, Data, Images, Networking - years before companies were ready or willing to buy them.  He had a "PC" ready to go in 1981, two floppies, screen and keyboard and disks all in one unit, with a cable to a modified IBM Selectric as the printer, but he blew it!  He kept it proprietary and marketed it to Engineers.  He made his own DOS, his own CPU boards, his own OS, etc. etc. so that far far too late Wang tried to get on the generic MSDOS run IBM compatible PC train, but it had already left the station.  Word Perfect software for generic PC's then killed Wang's money maker, Wang WP.  Wang lost billions, and laid off thousands every year until they went under in the nineties.

The TV commercial launched the last gasp desperate campaign where Wang was attempting to out do IBM, the Ad agency had the brilliant idea to utilize the helicopter from the 1983 movie Blue Thunder and the 1984 TV Series.  They had a clueless corporate exec sitting at his big exec desk with the "Think" plaque on it (to make sure you knew he worked for IBM), busy swatting flies (smaller computer companies) and behind him, many floors up in his office skyscraper, this sleek black attack helicopter with the blue Wang logo on the nose rises up and trains it's weapons on him, he slinks down in his chair, and the announcer voice says "Wang.... We're Gunning for IBM!"  It was short and effective and like a punch in the gut, and everyone was talking about it the next day.

Unfortunately the rumor was that Dr. Wang saw it for the first time on air, and thought it was too aggressive and violent and in poor taste and he nixed it immediately.  It might have only aired a few times before being pulled.  Here is my plastic drink cup with the Wang logo on it, the slogan, and some bullets and bullet holes printed on it leftover from the campaign. I understand there were even Tshirts!  

 Wang Rainbow Commercial
Wang Organist Commercial
Wang Office Automation People Commercial
Wang Networking Commercial
Wang Juggling Commercial
Wang Freestyle Demo
Wang Computers & Word Processing Commercial
Wang Opera Commercial
Wang Meeting Practice Commercial
Wang FreeFone Commercial

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