Thursday, October 11, 2012

ARP Omni " selling synthesizer in music" ad, Contemporary Keyboard 1977

ARP Omni " selling synthesizer in music" full page black and white advertisement from the back inside cover of the November 1977 issue of Contemporary Keyboard.

So my mood isn't so hot today. Maybe its the rain. Or the fact that this is the last day of a three-day-long weekend that has included exactly 6 hours and 13 minutes of excitement - two of those hours being the finale of Hell on Wheels last night.

I've done none of the things I was looking forward to doing. No music production even though I just installed Sonar X2 and a few virtual toys to go along with it. No video game playing even though Skyrim is sitting on my Xbox still in the wrapper.

Note to self - SNAP OUT OF IT. Got to enjoy my afternoon and evening before I start four long days of work-work again.

My meh-ness also spills out into how I feel about this ad.



Usually I don't get down on ARP. Even their most obvious of obvious name-dropping ads usually have some redeeming qualities. Like including a naughty word like "Hell" right in the ad-title (how "Rock and Roll" is that!):

 But this new one pager ad isn't too hot. Pretty generic actually. We got the endorsements, ad-copy full of blatant market-speak like "virtually unlimited" and "sizzling", and of course, ARP's very own "human engineered" line. And if this was 20 years later, I would also comment on the awful 15-second Photoshop fade effect used around the image. Ugh.

This ad looks to have ran in November and December 1977 issues, as well as the January 1978 issue of CK. And sadly, the January ad would not just signal the end to this ad's short lifespan, but also the end of ARP's dominance of the inside back cover of the magazine. They started off getting that spot sporadically in 1976 and then continued to use it much more faithfully throughout 1977.

When a company gives up a major advertising location like the back page of a magazine, it can sometimes indicate financial problems. Not sure if that was the case here. Just writing it down before I loose the thought - and so if I do research it later and find out it was true, I can point back to this blog post with a big "See! I was right!" kinda post.  :)

Interestingly, this ad also popped up in International Musician and Recording World's January (UK)/February (International) 1978 issue. Primarily a UK magazine, it is a little surprising to see the *exact* same ad. they didn't change a thing. The US and Canadian addresses were retained. And even the price for the demo record was still one dollar, while every other ad in the magazine uses pounds. Even more odd, they didn't even resize the ad for IMRW's larger page format. So there is actually about an extra two inches of white space at the top. Awkward.

So what about that claim - "best selling synthesizer in music"?

Apparently ARP sold a lot of them. I mean - a lot. The Omni Wikipedia page says its "ranked as ARP's best selling keyboard" and "very popular in its time". But, the page is also flagged as not citing any references or sources. Synth Museum also makes this claim. As well as a wack of other sites. But again - no cited references from independent sources or even from interviews with ARP representatives.

I don't doubt these claims. I just want proof. :D

I'm gonna do a bit of digging in old interviews and articles and see what I can come up with.

But not now.

I only have about eight more hours of awake time in my long weekend, and like I promised, its time to snap out of it and change this mood.

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