Monday, November 22, 2010

Korg Sigma, Contemporary Keyboard 1979

Korg Sigma synthesizer advertisement from page 13 in Contemporary Keyboard August 1979.

This was the third Korg Sigma advertisement to come out. And you wouldn't know it just by looking at it, but this was the final ad in the series. The campaign was actually quite different from most synthesizer introductions at the time, and quite different from the other Korg ads running at the time too.

I blogged about the first two ads in the series last February. The first was the pre-launch ad in the June 1979 issue, and as much as I liked the visuals of the ad, I just didn't think Korg put in the same effort for the ad-copy. I also didn't think they let the ad run long enough. In the end, it didn't do it's job.

The second ad ran just one month later in the July 1979 issue - and like the first ad, only ran for one month. This one introduced the Sigma to readers as *the* performing synthesizer, where again, the visuals of the ad blew the ad-copy out of the water.

This last ad of the series started running the next month (August 1979), and Korg threw it into the ever-growing rotating list of their products showing up in Contemporary Keyboard at the time. It ran monthly until January 1980.

Korg had been really hitting CK readers hard with advertisements starting around November 1978. Before that issue, Korg usually had a single ad per issue, but then in August, September and October 1978, they went silent. Nothing. Nadda.

Then in November 1978, Korg started running three ads at the same time - for the MS-10 synthesizer, MS-20 synthesizer, and VC-10 vocoder. Korg continued to hammer these three full page ads in CK in most issues afterwards, until the Sigma pre-introductory ad was also put into the mix. Korg then had *four* full page ads running for at least the two summer months, until the VC-10 ad was phased out. I'll have to take a closer look, but off the top of my head I can't think of any other companies during this time period that had that many ads in a single issue. Not Moog. Not Oberheim. Not Roland. As I mentioned in a previous Sigma post, "a reader is either going to remember all four ads because they are a Korg-fanatic, or more likely, all that Korgmania is just going to get lost in a sea of gearporn".

As far as this ad is concerned, the ad-copy has the same "feel" as the first two ads with the addition of a bit more reference information. Plus, below the ad-copy is a list of bullets that include information on each of the main sections of the synthesizer in the photo. Unlike the first two ads, the photo in this ad is purely functional. Together with the section bullets, the photo provides the reader a good overview of what the Sigma has to offer.

I finally had a chance to play on a Sigma for an extended period of time just a few weeks back - which is what got me thinking of this third Sigma ad. Overall, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be with the sound. Maybe I had built the Sigma up in my mind a little too much - what with those two joysticks and all that. But, in the end, I guess I'm not as interested in the performance side of this synth as I thought I would be.

Your mileage may vary.

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