Thursday, April 28, 2011

E-mu Emulator "E-mu Systems of Japan" ad, Keyboard 1983

E-mu Emulator 1-page "E-mu Systems of Japan" advertisement from page 71 in Keyboard Magazine April 1983.

You would think I dug up this ad up after I mistakenly clicked the "Buy it now" button on some Japanese synthesizer magazine auction. But you'd be wrong.

This ad popped up out of nowhere in the April 1983 issue of Keyboard and was the last readers of Keyboard would see from the Emulator front until the first Emulator II ad showed up in January 1985 (that's not to say E-mu wasn't advertising during this time period - the introductory Drumulator ad was already making appearances).

Interestingly, this advertisement used the same top image that was found in my previous Emulator "Breaking the sound barrier" ad post. If you recall, that ad only ran once as well, so it appears that E-mu only advertised the Emulator in two issues of Keyboard between March 1982 and January 1985. That is eight and six months respectively between showings.

You may also recall from my last blog post that I didn't think the reason for the brief ad appearance was to try and sustain sales of the Emulator. The ad only ran once, hardly enough to keep long term sales going, and its widely documented that Emulator sales during this time period were steady, even without constant advertising.

No, I had another theory and ended my previous post with a bit of a dramatic cliff hanger, like those with great theories tend to do.

My theory is...

(dramatic pause)

E-mu wanted to introduce readers to that new cool/modern Bauhaus-font-based Emulator logo!

You see, before these neon/checker board ads, the Emulator logos found in ads were quite different. I've included an image of the E-mu identifiers found in those previous E-mu ads below - the square images are the "Emulator" logo/logo-type found on the actual instrument photos from the ads, and the longer images beside the square images are the logo-type for E-mu Systems, Inc, found in the bottom right-hand corner of the ads.

Being a logo freak, I just had to ask Marco Alpert (visit his personal Web site/blog!), long-time marketing manager for E-mu, about the evolving Emulator/E-mu logo.
"The old logo predated my arrival. After I came on board, the E-mu logo slowly evolved, becoming more modern with the rounded font. An interim logotype appeared on the original Emulator, with the Bauhaus version debuting on the Drumulator and remaining current through the SP-12. Apart from the logotype, there wasn't an actual graphical logo again until the mid-to-late 80s."
So, even though the original Emulators never had the Bauhaus version of the logo on it, it was used in these latest Emulator ads above the Emulator. Logo evolution in action!

And what I like even more is that the Bauhaus font was also used for the new tag line as well - "applied magic for the arts". Nice!

So, was I correct in my theory? Was the brief Keyboard appearance of the "Sound barrier" ad just to introduce readers to this great new logo?

Of course not. :P

I asked Marco about my "perfect theory" (I've bolded the text that kaputs my theory):
"We ("we" being me, the late (and sorely missed) Ed Rudnick, and Kevin Monahan, (who was largely responsible for growing the sound library) went down to Winter NAMM '82 with the company in near dire shape (Dave and Scott stayed home to save money) and came back with more than 8 months of backorders. It was an amazing weekend. Since we couldn't make any more than we were selling for most of the next year, it seemed wiser to focus available cash on production and, later, development of the Drumulator than more advertising. But by the time of the Breaking the Sound Barrier ad, we had caught up and figured it was time to remind everyone of what the Emulator had evolved into and to start really pushing the value of the sound library. We went for breadth rather than depth. That's why only one placement in Keyboard. However, the ad also appeared in both Musician and Music and Sound Output (both now long gone). On the other hand, as much as I love design, I can't really say the ad had anything consciously to do with introducing the new typeface."
Dang. I was blinded by my love of an awesome logo!

So, the ad was really just to let everyone know that the Emulator was still alive and kicking, as well as to promote the sound library. I should have known.. the simplest answer is usually the right answer.

But, then what about THIS Japanese ad? Was E-mu of Japan really advertising in Keyboard Magazine? Or was this more of the classic E-mu-style of advertising along the lines of the cheeky/funny/witty "Play a turkey" and "Arthur C. Clarke" ads?

Only one way to find out. Ask Marco...:
"The Japanese version was created by our then Japanese distributor for the Japan market, but when I saw it, the idea of placing it in Keyboard without other comment just seemed too good/weird to pass up. So to that extent, yes, we were playing with your minds. Luckily, the same lack of "E-mu accountants" that let me make the Clarke ad color let me get away with this as well. (I.e., Dave and Scott were delightfully supportive of this sort of thing.)"
Aaaaaah. Too good/weird to pass up. And the others in the company supported it!

Excellent. :D

End note: Don't forget to check out Marco Alpert's Web site. Great photography, excellent rubber stamp artwork, AND a Quicktime VR clip of KMFDM working in the studio!

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