The "positioning" of Bell System (pre-1984 divestiture) research software was always peculiar. It was available cheaply in academic/research settings (where did you think BSD came from?) and was also offered commercially and to the government, but never quite as a product. After 1984, AT&T could and did try to make a business out of this, though it was not hugely successful for the company. (One of my canned jokes for a while involved the observation that Ken and I had cost AT&T more money than anyone besides Bill McGowan, but the reference became increasingly obscure).
The Greensboro operation that produced this ad is still in operation in Lucent today (see the SSG page), but do not trust the phone numbers or PO box numbers in the ad below.
I find it hard to interpret or justify the intended meaning of this cartoon. It appears to be a guy and banknotes being sucked into a computer, which I suppose does key into the "without costly hardware" headline, but somehow the whole impression is a bit strange.