Sex Sells #11: When Computers Were Groovy

Sometime in the late 1970's, computers stopped being sexy, cool and exciting. Companies began marketing them as family computers, as toys for kids, or for drab utilitarian purposes at work. Where once you had go-go girls lounging all over the hardware, suddenly you had guys like Bill Cosby and Bill Bixby as spokesmen. Boooooring.

Nowadays, we are so far removed from the computer's early days, we can't imagine them being groovy chick magnets. They are so integrated into our lives that computerization goes almost unnoticed.  I've posted on this topic before, so I'll try not to repeat myself any more. It's a subject I find fascinating. Here's a few more artifacts from when computers were groovy.

If you haven't discovered the ye-ye girls music of the 60's and 70's, it's high time you did. Here's France Gall with shagadelic computer song, "der Computer nr 3". It's not an advertisement, but I still thought it fit with what we're talking about.


  1. Being a leg man, I very much appreciate mini-skirts. This one in particular: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2625/4109425771_204c9325cc.jpg

  2. Gil,

    What on earth is the one that says "970" on its display? It looks like a Brobdingnagian vibrator .... :)

  3. I think it's "97.0" and it's a Gitmo rectal thermometer...

  4. Nice post. I think the song has the clue to why all these old ads had groovy chicks in them. The computer people I knew in the late '60s and early '70s were absolute geeks. This was the market. Of course the specs of the system were important but first you had to get the geek to look at your ad so he (and I'm pretty sure it was always a he in those days) would then ask about the specs. Buy my computer and not only will you get the best hardware but maybe this girl will be interested in you. As you've noted before, sex can sell anything.

  5. The thing that looked like a "Gitmo thermometer" is a king-sized model of a handheld voltmeter that did good business for HP (now Agilent).

    Three other photos also show HP equipment; I never owned that voltmeter, but I do own the frequency counter and voltmeter featured.

    I told you IT and EE's were raunchy in their day...

  6. AnonymousMay 04, 2011

    Ha! I have something useful to contribute! The one with the green pyramids in the backround - that's the Expo 67 Canadian Pulp and Paper Pavilion! http://asheard.com/wp-content/uploads/Expo67-5.jpg You want way out designs? Expo 67 was all about that.