True, elekm, marketing is much more important than one would think. But the AE-1 had follow-through reliability. And few complaints other than the 'expensive' battery (at that time). Now batteries for digital are outrageous.
And Chan Tran: also true that those other cameras really were just as good. But the perception was important with the AE-1 as it did seem to be more user friendly. Few knew at the time that the top and bottom were plastic. The advertising, as I well remember, was constant and incessant. - David Lyga