Monday, February 6, 2012

Korg Wavestation "Make Waves' ad, Keyboard/Electronic Musician 1990

Korg Wavestation "Make Waves" 1-page advertisement from inside front cover of Keyboard Magazine and Electronic Musician Magazine September 1990.

Well, we are already into the second month of 2012 and I have yet to circle back to the Korg Wavestation family of ads - an obsession that started at a much younger age, but was again re-ignited late last year when I posted the 2-page "Make waves" introductory ad. And what I later referred to my resulting behavior as "page-flipping/ebay-buying/scanning marathon sessions that could well provide blogging fodder well into mid-February".

This second advertisement, a direct descendant of the first, had began to appear in Keyboard Magazine immediately following the two-month run of the Wavestation intro ad in the September 1990 issue. Yup - the issue that had Public Enemy on the cover! The ad continued to run constantly between September 1990 and March 1991 in the coveted front inside cover page of the mag, usually next to an ad for the Korg S3 drum machine or a T-series ad.

And you have to remember - this is the 90s. There was another musician's magazine out there catering to the synth crowd - Electronic Musician. And Korg made sure they gave them some Wavestation ad-revenue-love as well. The same two-page intro ad appeared on similar real-estate in that magazine on the front-inside cover, and this one-page version of the ad carried on the tradition appearing on the inside front cover as well. Nice.

With such a long ad-run, Korg was wise to modify the advertisement during the second-half as more and more accolades for the Wavestation started to roll in. It was always a small change, but I think enough to keep the ad from becoming invisible to readers.

The first change in the ad appeared in January 1991 when the very top of the ad was sacrificed for a call-out box that included positive comments from Keyboard and Electronic Musician magazine.

I can't explain it, but I always feel uncomfortable whenever I see another magazine's name in Keyboard. Or Keyboard's name in another music magazine for that matter. I don't know why - it just feels dirty or something. Is this just me? Anyways - more on those reviews in a later blog post.

In that same January 1991 issue, it was announced that the Korg Wavestation had won the "Hardware Innovation of the Year award", as determined in the 15th annual Keyboard Magazine readers poll.

This nod to the Wavestation's beautiful internal and external design was immediately put to good use by Korg in the second modification to this advertisement that appeared in February and March 1991.  Again, bragging rights were added as a top of the page cut-a-way.

 The ballots appeared in the October 1990 issue of Keyboard, under the "Hardware Innovation" category (explained under the question: "Which hardware product set the standard this year against which others are judged?"). The Wavestation had some stiff competition, including the Alesis 1622 mixer, Buchla Thunder, Kat Drumkat, Lone Wolf Miditap, MOTU MIDI time piece, and Yamaha SY77. Readers also could write in their own piece of kit if they so chose.

And, on a similar note - guess who appeared under the "New Talent" category? Trent Reznor!

We know the results of the Hardware category, but how about new talent? Drum roll please.... Jane Child. Wait... what? She beat out Reznor by a fairly large margin apparently. And at a distant third was Oleta Adams, the "lounge gig refugee" discovered by Tears for Fears. Not sure how I feel about that. Grrr.

It is hard to believe, but by the time this ad ended its run in the March 1991 issue of of Keyboard, it had actually already been a year since the Wavestation first appeared in front of reader's eyes.

"What?" - I can hear you say it now. Okay, I can't really hear you, because that would be weird.

But yeah - a year! The ads may have only started running in July 1990, but readers got a preview much earlier.

More on that in my next blog post.

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