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Alda Reunited with Other Ex-M-A-S-H Stars in New IBM Ads

June 23, 1988 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ Actor Alan Alda has teamed up for the first time with an ensemble of stars from the ″M-A-S-H″ television series in some new advertising for International Business Machines Corp.

An IBM commercial in which Alda and other ex-M-A-S-H performers pose as workers in the same office has been completed and should be appearing on national television soon, an IBM spokesman said Wednesday.

Print versions of the ad also are being prepared.

In the spring of 1987, IBM rounded up about a half-dozen actors who had appeared in the popular television series including Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit and Gary Burghoff and had them pose as office workers in commercials for IBM’s new family of Personal System-2 computers.

Alda, who was Hawkeye Pierce in the long-running ″M-A-S-H″ series, was conspicuously absent from that crew, reportedly because he still was under contract to another computer company, Atari Corp.

In mid-February, IBM disclosed it had signed Alda to a multi-year contract to appear in commercials. Initially, he was used alone in IBM ads.

In one new commercial, which was shown to industry analysts and the media on Monday at a briefing where IBM unveiled a new line of mid-range computers, Alda and Morgan are shown walking into a stark office to have a chat. A small plant can been seen in the hallway.

As the commercial progresses, sequential scenes are shown in which more and more people including Swit, Burghoff and Jamie Farr show up for sessions which are described as a pow-wow, then a meeting and finally a conference.

The plant in the hallway is bigger in each scene. A small computer shows up in the second scene, and bigger models turn up in subsequent scenes.

The message is that the organization is getting bigger, and the new family of IBM mid-range computers is helping the business grow.

Tim Ohsann, a spokesman for IBM, said Wednesday the ensemble ad was shot in California at the end of May. He said IBM is trying to schedule the new ads with the television networks and didn’t know precisely when they would air.