Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Akai AX-73 "SYNTHMASTER" ad, Music Technology Magazine 1987

Akai AX-73 "SYNTHMASTER" advertisement from page 47 of the January 1987 issue of The Music Technology Magazine.

Well, if there's one thing this Akai AX-73 ad proves, it's that you can definitely love a synth too much.

Waaaaay too much.

I get it. It was the mid-80s and readers were getting more accustomed to ads that veered towards the artsy-end of the spectrum. Advertisements from across the pond did sometimes take a bit more risk and, let's face it, there were a lot of drugs flowing through advertising agencies around this time period.

But this ad is so unlike any other Akai advertisements that when a friend brought it to my attention last night via a UK eBay auction, I couldn't resist coming out of my winter hibernation to search through my magazine archives and get this thing online pronto. And really - I can't thank him enough for rekindling my blogging passion.

Let's ignore for a second the fact that someone thought this ad would make a good eBay auction and focus on the ad itself.

I don't mind the layout. Again - pure 80s with a large photo, lots of white space and a giant block of run-on text that's a little hard to read.  The one thing that isn't well displayed is the actual name of the synth. Its not in large text anywhere - it's even missing from the photo. It's only written out in the small paragraph at the bottom right of the page.

Also, growing up on the other side of the Atlantic, I find some of the language used in the ad copy slightly exotic. "Velocity sensing" and "For your nearest stockist..." - both stand out to me as a Canadian. And let's not miss "Grasp the energy". Obviously the inspiration for the photo.

I think the Synthmaster is grasping the AX-73 a little to hard maybe.

Now - back to that eBay auction. The description the seller uses is actually quite accurate:

"Retro and vintage magazine advertising is an increasingly interesting subject for framers and collectors. As more and more magazines from the 70s & 80s are discarded , the available stock becomes more and more sought after."

I agree - these awesome magazines are becoming more rare and sought after. Unfortunately, its a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy when many of the magazines are being discarded by people tearing them apart to sell the ads.

Yeah, I don't like it, but I'm not trying to point fingers either. You buy a magazine, you can do what you want with it. And as the available stock dwindles, eBayers will theoretically be able to get more for each ad. That's just good business. Breaks my heart when a magazine like this is destroyed. But that's just me.

My real astonishment is that the seller believes someone will buy *this particular* Akai AX-73 ad. And maybe even more frightening is that someone will actually buy and frame it.

That Roland Jupiter 8 two-page spread or TR-808 ad from their "Understanding Technology Series" ad run?


Definitely. Frame those babies on the ceiling above your bed for those lonely nights.

Or can I get a what-what for a sexy Moog ad?

Yup. Times 10.

Or how about pretty much any Sequential Circuits Prophet 10/5/PRO-1 ad from the "Ear Force" era?

You can bet your pants those are replacing the cherished heirloom family photos in the dining room.

But as far as this ad is concerned - do your house guests a favour and save your money for an actual AX-73.

Or better yet - the AX-60.  :)