Monday, November 26, 2012

Casio CZ-1, AZ-1, RZ-1, and TB-1 "Note worthy" ad, Keyboard 1986

Casio CZ-1 synthesizer, AZ-1 controller, RZ-1 drum machine, and TB-1 MIDI switching thru box "Note worthy" two-page colour advertisement from page 82 and 83 in the September 1986 issue of Keyboard.

Normally I call these types of group advertisements "family photos". But even though these instruments have been nicely arranged for the photo, it still just looks like they are milling about not really aware that a photo is being taken. Like a family standing around a BBQ waiting for their steaks to be done unaware their neighbour is photographing them (and the TB-1 is probably having a veggie burger because he swore off meat at the age of 16 while going through his teen vegan phase).

And this ad is about as rare as finding a photo of my own family standing around the BBQ too.  It looks like it only appeared three times - September and November 1986, and February 1987. I never liked the family photo growing up... (probably again much like the TB-1 in this ad, I'd be sitting over in the far corner pouting).

Hey, if this blog can't be therapy, what can it be for?!?!   :)

Side note: Speaking of the TB-1 - I love that thing. It has two MIDI-INs (A and B) and eight MIDI-THRUs that are each individually switchable between the two INs. I have two of them strategically arranged in my studio so that I can easily flip the control of my synth stacks quickly between my computer and stand alone controller keyboards.

If I recall correctly, all the gear in this ad are making their first photographic appearances in Keyboard in this September 1986 ad. The CZ-1 didn't get any early advertising dollars. All that went first to the CZ-101 and then the CZ-5000.  And oddly, the CZ-1 won't make an appearance in a solo advertisement for another ten months or so. No kidding.

Even weirder, the RZ-1 actually did make appearances in the Spec Sheet section five months EARLIER in April 1986, and the Keyboard Report for the RZ-1 appeared four months EARLIER in May 1986 (more on those  in a near-future RZ-1 brochure post - weeee!). 

As for the TB-1 MIDI through box... I wouldn't expect any other advertising, but the AZ-1 MIDI controller is awesome. There should be some solo advertising around that, but I haven't found anything else in terms of ads yet. Although, during my Keytar-fetish-blogging period, I did post this AZ-1 brochure with a slick-looking dude I affectionately named Blane in reference to the dude from Pretty in Pink. 

My point being... er... what is my point?!?!? Oh yeah...

My point being that Casio didn't seem to have a solid marketing plan when they started releasing their professional gear. Marketing around all of Casio's new gear so far just seems to be scattered throughout a two year period between February 1985 and February1987.

I'm starting to think the real problem is that Casio's semi-pro line of keyboards are just getting in the way. I've been ignoring those ads in Keyboard Magazine, wanting to pretend for as long as possible that they just don't exist. Casio has been pumping out so many keyboards lately that it would be hard to actually come up with a campaign that could involve everything. So, instead, you get a sprinkle of CZ-101 ads over here, a couple of CZ-5000 ads over there, and a few CZ-1 ads waaaaaaay over that way.

But, these family ads are a step in the right direction towards corralling in all these instruments into a campaign. And to be honest, I have to admit that gear-porn ads like this turn my crank more than a little bit.

The ad-title is actually really good, although a little predictable - "Note worthy". But its the way its laid out in the centerfold that bugs me.  Because each word was given the same amount of space from the left-side margin of their own pages, the words are too separated. Maybe it was a gimmick. But there's no need for it.  And the other thing that disappoints me is that Casio's ad designers have taken out that human element I was digging so much in those early xZ advertisements. Boo. Much cooler would have been all this gear in a rack and a dude rocking out with it. We've already seen Casio use a Bruce Springsteen/Lover Boy stereotype (CZ-101) and a Miami-Vice stereotype (CZ-5000), and even Blane from Pretty in Pink (in that AZ-1 brochure) so how about a New Wave-decked-out dude a la Devo or Flock of Seagulls kicking it on all this gear. Okay, maybe that would only get my attention.  :) 

Also, you have to give Casio credit for at least trying to keep within a single naming convention ("x"Z-1). That goes a long way in keeping all these different products straight, recognizable, and memorable in a readers mind.

Plus, we also have the luxury of looking into the future, and so we know Casio does get a little better at all this.

A little.

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