CYRIX'S NEXT VENTURE: MAIL-ORDER PCS; STRATEGY GOAL: BOOST INTEREST IN HIGH-POWER COMPUTER CHIPS

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Cyrix Corp. today introduces a line of mail-order PCs, hoping to create a buzz for its computer chips so it can sell more chips to PC marketers.

Cyrix will spend an estimated $5 million to $7 million through yearend on ads, vs. the mega-million-dollar budget of its major rival, Intel Corp.

The Cyrix campaign, created by Dallas direct-response agency Rizzuti, Beckman & Lyman, starts with a six-page insert in various computer titles.

Tiny Cyrix's plan is to promote Cyrix-brand PCs to computer enthusiasts interested in the performance of its high-performance 6x86 chips, seeding the market to attract interest from bigger PC makers.

"If you advertise the computer, you can advertise what the chip can actually do," said Paul J. Pascarelli, Cyrix's marketing director.

The chip company expects Cyrix PCs to consume just 5% of its 6x86 chip production, with the rest going to other PC marketers.

For now, Cyrix chips sell at a "substantial discount" to Intel, but the new strategy could enhance Cyrix's image and allow it to raise prices, said Dean McCarron, principal with Mercury Research.

Ads position Cyrix PCs as better than those of Gateway 2000, the top mail-order marketer. The creative shows a Cyrix PC flattening Gateway's cow mascot.

"You go after the company with the most to give to get," said John Rizzuti, managing director at Rizzuti, Beckman & Lyman. "We had to stick the dagger right in [Gateway CEO] Ted Waitt's heart."

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