Thursday, December 8, 2011

Korg "How to get fat sound from a thin wallet" family of synthesizers ad, International Musician 1978

Korg "How to get fat sound from a thin wallet" family of synthesizers two-page advertisement including the 800 DV (Maxi Korg), Mini Korg 700s, 770,  Poly 1000 (Polyphonic Ensemble P) and Poly 2000 (Polyphonic Ensemble S) from page 12 and 13 in International Musician and Recording World November 1978.

Crazy late in the day. I know. That's just the kind of days it has been around here.

I'd like to take full responsibility for this ad - as if I was blogging about this long string of Rose-Morris ads after each first appeared back in 1978, and the company was actually listening to what I had to say. :)

First, the bad. For some reason, Rose-Morris has decided to ignore the new crop of Korg gear they had just launched in an ad three months earlier - including the MS-20, MS-10 and VC-10. How could they go back to the older products? MS was the future! In the US, once those MS/VC ads started running, they didn't stop for over a year.

Gah! Maybe they put out that ad before instruments could make it into the UK? Or maybe they had to get rid of old stock...  :)

But because this ad is just so great, I can forgive Rose-Morris for circling back to Korg's older gear.

For starters - the ad-title. Unlike some of the older ads, this one makes sense. It's also a great play on words. Witty and all that stuff.

The layout is also great. Only five products have been wisely chosen to promote - and each includes a nice large photo. There is also a nice large sub-title for each, and a small descriptive paragraph with just enough white space to make it easy for the eye to separate the content of each instrument from the others. But the best thing is that Rose-Morris/Korg has decided to finally use bullets to highlight the main features of each instrument. What a great way to get a lot of good reference info, including recommended retail prices (!), into a small amount of space. Kapow!

Plus - look at that font size. Finally, I can actually read this without putting on my reading glasses (did I just give away my age-group?). The font choice is a little unorthodox, but it is still readable, so I'm not gonna complain. Even the logos, although smaller that in previous ads, are easily seen in the bottom right hand corner. There is no doubt who's ad this is. Great stuff.

Looking over old ads, I can't believe I haven't actually looked into who Rose-Morris is anyways.

I found a bit more history about Rose-Morris in a Korg "40 years of gear" article in the November 2002 issue of Sound on Sound magazine. Near the bottom of the Web page is a call-out box called "The Establishment of of Korg UK" where it explains that Rose-Morris was a British company established in the 1920s, and by the 80s were very successful with a number of stores, distributing for Korg and many others. They also had a few of their own product lines including Vox.  But in the late 80s, things weren't looking so good for Rose-Morris, and in 1992 Korg acquired  a major stake in the company and changed the name to Korg UK.

Interestingly, I found a Rose Morris Web site that sells music instruments and they do write in their About Us section that they have a 90-year history. So, it could be that the name was kept alive or resurrected at some point. If anyone has more info on this, please comment!

Another great SOS article I ran into online was written by Gordon Reid in April 1998 called "Korg Minikorg Family (Retro)". It includes some great history and reference information on a number of the instruments that are highlighted in the past few Korg ad blog posts, including the 770, 700s, 800DV, M500 Preset, Poly 1000 (Polyphonic Ensemble P) and Poly 2000 (Polyphonic Ensemble S).

The best thing about that article is how it explains Korg's "unorthodox terminology" used on many of these synthesizers. For example, the "Traveler" was the name used for Korg's combined dual 12db/oct low-pass and high-pass filter. "VCF" just wasn't good enough.  :)

Thank-you Sound On Sound for keeping this history alive on your Web site!

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