Thursday, March 14, 2013

Roland RED SH-101 "Takes you where you want to go." ad, Keyboard 1984

Roland RED SH-101 synthesizer "Takes you where you want to go." full page colour advertisement from page 7 in the January 1984 issue of  Keyboard Magazine.

I guess I still have a little bit of my battery-operated synth fetish bubbling deep in my gut. The anti-dramatic ending to Yamaha's Producer Series blog posts, with the once-featured CS01 synthesizer pushed to the side lines, left me wanting more.

In other words, I have a fever and the only prescription is more battery-operated synthesizers. And while flipping through old issues of Keyboard this advertisement for Roland's SH-101 synthesizer caught my eye.

I mean, really, how could it not catch a reader's eye. This ad scream's "80s" from top to bottom. The large bright splashes of solid colour. The angular design elements. Even the angled ad-copy with lines like "get up and move", "no strings attached" and "more than just a pretty face" - all very 80s.

But its those contemporary elements that today makes this ad look so dated. Kind of like looking back at your 80s haircut. You may still think you looked cool and bad-ass back then, but you sure don't want your coworkers to find your school yearbook.

In particular, I'm talking about the dude on the scooter. His clothes, even how he is sitting... er... dancing...?
Very 80s contemporary-dancer-like. He looks a little uncomfortable actually. Like he's about to fly off because they are taking a sharp corner.

But whatever emotions might be evoked now doesn't really matter. The ad is well past its expiry date - it served its purpose. Like most magazine advertisements, inherently had a short shelf life.

Looking at the ad now just like I did back then, I can't help but only think about how much I still want an SH-101. I've always wanted one. Forever. And regretably never picked one up when they were going cheap way back when.

For some reason they weren't that common around these parts - or at least people weren't selling them once they got them. But I recall a time when I could walk into a pawn shop or music store and it wouldn't be too uncommon to see a used 202, 303, 606, 808 or 909 sitting on the shelf. And sometimes, even as a student, I would have enough cash to actually buy one when I saw it.  Probably the best investments I've ever made - if I could ever actually convince myself to ever sell 'em.   :) 

This is actually the first in a series of SH-101 ads. Like the SH-101 itself, the ads came in a variety of colours and imagery. And interestingly, only the red version seems to have appeared more than once. Twice to be exact. In the January and April 1984 issues of Keyboard.

Up next - silver! 

End note: Hmmmm - look at that scooter again - I wonder if "TB303" is available as a vanity license plate in my province. 

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