Thursday, January 17, 2013

Strider Systems, Inc. DCS II "Get ready to change what you think..." ad, Contemporary Keyboard 1979

Strider Systems, Inc. DCS II synthesizer "Get ready to change what you think..." full page black and white advertisement from page 49 in the February 1979 issue of Contemporary Keyboard Magazine.

By the name of this synthesizer - DCS II, you have probably guessed there was a DCS1 - and you would be right. Approximately two years after releasing that first instrument, Strider Systems decided to take another crack at it and released the much more compact and synthesizer-looking DCS II.

But the DCS II only looks like a normal synthesizer from afar. Get a little closer and you realize this thing doesn't have a bunch of knobs and sliders like those found on many of the other synthesizers advertised in this issue of CK. Ads like those for the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, Oberheim Four-Voice, or Korg MS-20. The ad-copy even points this feature out to the reader early on.
"First, notice the differences you see. No knobs. No sliders. Just a compact instrument with a clean, perfectly arranged control panel of push buttons."
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm all about sliders, knobs and dials... but I gotta admit, that front panel does look kinda cool, clean and all digital-like. And now imagine seeing the DCS II back in 1979.

Woulda been sweet!

And that, in a nut-shell, is what I like about this introductory advertisement. It's also as sweet as a butter tart at Christmas (yes, I'm still on a sugar high).

For one - just like the look of the DCS II's front panel, the ad is pretty well-thought out. Strider obviously knew the synthesizer looked different - so they slapped a really nice large photo at the top of the page. Would definitely get reader's interest.

Strider also knew that readers would have a lot of questions. How did the DCS II work without knobs and sliders? Was it like a normal synthesizer? The company needed to include a lot of ad-copy explaining it and only a full-page advertisement would get all that ad-copy in.

Read it all. I'll wait...

I find the ad-copy contains a lot of good, useful information, but it is a little too friendly. It could have been cut down a bit, either providing a bit more white space or to allow the ad to include even more useful information. But it does a great job of playing up both the differences this synthesizer has with others (digital control, programming interface), as well as what it has in common. It was just as important not to alienate readers, and they made sure not to by pointing out that the underlying sound architecture was similar to other synthesizers readers may own (oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelopes).

And of course, there is that lovely sweeeeeet logo. I'm a little disappointed that Strider made the decision to do away with the gaelic-like writing for the word "Strider" beside the logo that can be seen on their DCS1 advertisement (see right). But its definitely more noticeable now against the black background. And I also like how they reversed the colours of the circular logo itself to make it work with the black background in the new ad.


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