Thursday, May 27, 2010

ARP family of products, Contemporary Keyboard 1976

ARP Family of Products advertisement from page 24 and 25 of Contemporary Keyboard Magazine, May/June 1976.

ARP took a very interesting approach with this two-page ad.

The two previous issues of CK included an ARP 'family' advertisement that focused squarely on ARP's road-reliability, along with a good-sized helping of classic name-dropping.

Then they come out with this advertisement. Although it starts off with another big dollop of name-dropping, it soon takes a totally different sales approach than the previous ad.

ARP first points out a few facts about performance and quality. Never one to pull a punch, they take direct aim at Moog with the ever-popular slider-vs-rotary argument:
"ARP slide controls outperform hard-to-read rotary knobs".
(Moog's response: "Just try to accurately tune an all-slider instrument!")

ARP continues the attack on many of their competitors with:
"We build ARPs with expensive, industrial-grade circuitry. You won't find any chrome-plated plastic or paper based circuit boards inside an ARP."

With the bad-cop routine over with, ARP then goes into the soft-sell approach by providing a few educational facts, letting you know how easy it is to learn to play an ARP synthesizer and how you can grow your studio by 'adding-on, not trading in'.

And then. Finally... they hit you with the real pitch.

Buy our manuals for only a couple of bucks and see for yourself.

Like I said - it is an interesting approach and a common sales technique I've seen used in stores and at trade shows. Always try and put whatever you are selling into the hands of a potential buyer. And if you can't get the real thing in their hands, get the info into their hands.

In this case, ARP is enticing readers to buy an ARP manual BEFORE buying a synthesizer. Let's get this straight... they aren't asking you to send in for a free brochure with a bit of promotional material - they are actually getting readers to spend real cash on a manual. And once a reader has an ARP manual in their hands, it will be much easier to convince that reader to buy an ARP synthesizer.

I've bought enough synthesizers in my lifetime to know that I can justify a purchase if I've convinced myself I've done the research. And if I've spent money on that research, I can now convince myself to call that research an 'investment'. :o)

Smart thinking on ARP's part. And even smarter to sell 'learning synthesis' books that focus on their synthesizers. The more I think about it, the more I like this ad.

But you know what I like most about this advertisement?

It's like my own personal checklist of ARP stuff. Seriously - if you are into ARP paraphernalia like I am, this ad pretty much spells out some, if not most, of the great stuff that was available from ARP at the time. Even better is that the list in the advertisement is a great starting point for online searches for more information.

Take the first item in the order form: "Odyssey - Learning Music with Synthesizers". Over 200 pages of experiments and electronic music discussion based on the ARP Odyssey! One quick Google search and you are taken straight to the comprehensive Web site That Web site provides images of the covers of both the first and second editions, and goes on to describe the book:
"Part I of this book is a theoretical introduction to the the science of synthesizers. Part II is a hands-on guide that walks you through principles learned in Part I on the actual ARP Odyssey. Part III gets into experimentation and studio techniques (admittedly of the 1970's).
Now I know exactly what to look for in my eBay search. :o)

Yup - the more I think about it, the more I like this ad.

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