Monday, January 13, 2020

ARP Odyssey "Conduct an Arp" ad, Rolling Stone 1973

ARP Odyssey "Conduct an Arp" half page black and white advertisement from page 47 in the February 1, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Sometimes I'll take an hour or two and just look through my archives, when all of a sudden something new will jump out at me. And so it is that after more than sixth months of brochure posts, it's time to fall back in love with a synth advertisement.  In this case, a lovely Arp Odyssey ad from Rolling Stone. I've never actually seen this ad in the wild anywhere else - in another publication or online as a scan. It has just somehow managed to hide in plain sight from me.

A happy surprise.

And not-so-coincidentally, The Alan R. Pearlman Foundation / ARP Archives happens to be at NAMM (booth #8600) soonly. Make sure to check them out and show your support - financially and otherwise! 

Before Contemporary Keyboard came on the scene in 1975, many Americans would find synth ads popping up in the pages of Rolling Stone - what founder Jann Wenner described as a cross between a magazine and a newspaper that wasn't "just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces". She also described it as "reflecting what we see are the changes in rock and roll and the changes related to rock and roll".

What better product to advertise in such a magazine as a synthesizer?  Synths had begun to change the landscape of rock with many musicians embracing the technology, and the Odyssey, released just a year earlier, was already creating buzz (pun intended) on stage and in studios.

A perfect match.

The ad itself it quite tall - it spans the full vertical of the page making it over 17" high. And half the width of the page, about five inches. At the top of the ad is the lovely and large, bold ad title. And right underneath that we get that first large image. Even with the big illustration, there is still lots of space, so its not surprising that there is a fair amount of content, but it is surprising how technical that content gets. After an initial introduction, readers come across this...
"Add such state-of-the-art firsts as phase-locked oscillators, digital ring modulator, sample and hold circuits, and a lot of the functions of a complete studio synthesizer, and you've got yourself a genuine space age instrument."
ARP obviously believed there were some pretty technical musicians reading the mag, and quite frankly, even those that didn't understand the lingo would probably be impressed by it. I still am. :)

And if the buzz words didn't impress you, then the very bottom of the ad might...
"ARP ... conducted by Stevie Wonder / Pete Townshend / Ike & Tina Turner / Frank Zappa / The Beach Boys / Elton John / and many others"
ARP name droppin'!  It's an effective marketing technique and if you've read any of my earlier blog posts about ARP ads, you know I think ARP was one of the best name-droppers in the biz.

But the real joy of this advertisement is obviously the illustrations that play off the "orchestra conductor" theme and content of the ad. I'm a big fan of illustrations in synth ads, so much so that I've created a blog tag so you can see some of the other lovely artwork to be found in synth marketing material.

Here we get two lovely pieces of art. The top image is that of a conductor in a auditorium with just an Odyssey on the stage, and, even better is the second image of the conductor standing beside the ARP.

Tell me that ain't gorgeous. I dare ya!

I just wish there was an artist's signature included with the ad. If you recognize the work, please send me a note!

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