Disney Helps Reboot Commodore and Amiga Brands

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When Tron: Legacy was released in December, the product tie-in that drew all the attention was for Ducati. It’s a product placement the Italian motorcycle maker told us was unpaid, but highly valuable.

Now, the release of Tron: Legacy on DVD introduces a whole new marketing tie-in. This time for… Commodore 64?! That’s right — Disney is  helping promote the relaunch of the Commodore and Amiga brands, with the relaunched computers going on sale the same day (April 5th) as the DVD went on sale.[more]

As Tron: Legacy DVD buyers discovered, the disc case comes with a throwback ad for the Commodore 64 computer, an 8-bit PC that launched in 1982, and a call to action to visit Commodoreusa.net.

The website features the video at top, using Tron: Legacy footage to announce “A New Beginning” for Commodore 64. The description on the video: “Commodore USA is proud to present our cross-promotion with Disney on their Tron Legacy DVD and Blu-ray release. In 1982, both the original Commodore 64 and Disney’s blockbuster Tron were released. Almost 30 years later, they both simultaneously reappear on April 5, 2011. Commodore USA keyboard computers are on sale now.”

A year ago, we reported that brand was back, noting Commodore USA CEO Barry Altman’s declaration that the new Commodore would be “something like you’ve never seen in your life.” In February, Altman even met with some uber-users on the Amiga forum to offer a sneak peek at the Commodore and Amiga computers hitting the market.

As the sales brochure for the relaunched Commodore and Amiga brands, the Commodore USA website is either a thing of genius or some kind of wild disaster. Either way, it’s hard to argue with the CEO about never having seen anything like it.

Here’s a peek at the site’s store, now taking pre-orders for the retro design Commodore 64 ($595), the VIC Slim ($395) and VIC Pro ($895):

Although it was promised last year that Commodore is relaunching the Amiga brand, they’re missing on the website, which says Amiga units will be “available soon.”

The website design is wonky (we were having access issues this morning, and it doesn’t appear to like Safari browsers) and it comes off as a cheap and lo-tech effort, perhaps intentionally evoking a time when Commodore ruled. Still, its 1980s retro style makes it appear to be more a mock microsite than a trustworthy portal where you’d buy a computer that isn’t a knock-off.

It’s questionable with just how many computer users this risky move will resonate. Most anyone who even remembers using a Commodore has to be 30 by now. But we’ll give Commodore credit for at least trying something different. Check it out and tell us what you think.

By the way, you can also follow Commodore USA on Facebook and Twitter:

And it also has a YouTube channel, with the video at top and the following description: 

Commodore USA, LLC was founded with the goal of reviving and re-establishing the famous and much loved Commodore computer brand.

Commodore USA, LLC will be releasing a series of all-in-one computer keyboards, desktops, notebooks and tablets in the coming years and months. We believe these much loved icons of the golden age of computing continue to have value and we will endeavor to produce competitive and innovative products in a manner befitting their heritage. We are excited to bring back the Commodore 64 (the greatest selling computer model of all time) as a modern keyboard computer suitable for every day usage.

The Commodore AMIGA was considered the pinnacle of Commodore’s technological prowess. It therefore also gives us great pleasure to reboot the famous AMIGA line of computers with cutting edge technology matching, and in some cases, exceeding that which you would expect in today’s personal computers.

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