Thursday, January 16, 2020

Moog Sonic Six "Moog makes the scene" ad, Rolling Stone 1973

Moog Sonic Six "Moog makes the scene" half page black and white advertisement from page 51 in the February 1, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.

After the great response to my early 70's ARP ad from Rolling Stone, I thought it would be fun to post this Moog Sonic Six ad from the same issue... just two page flips away!

The Sonic Six doesn't get a lot of love when it comes to advertising compared to its siblings like the Minimoog. Although Moog did come out with a lovely colour brochure in 1974.

Its interesting to note that in the brochure, Moog is not just going after the live musician looking for a light-weight synth in a carry case, but its also using up as much ad copy targeting the classroom as well. Now compare that to the Rolling Stone ad... no mention of classrooms at all.

Moog definitely knew their audience and stayed mum on the school angle.  :)

The ad copy is top notch - there is so much said in such a tiny amount of space. I liked it so much I've typed it all out...
"The synthesizer that started it all is the one behind the innovative new music groups like Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Mike Quatro, Jam Band. Behind the restless exploration of new sounds, rhythms and tone colors by Gershon Kingsley's First Moog Quartet. Now Moog quality and engineering are available in the Sonic Six, the complete electronic synthesizer in a compact carry-along case. And the famous Minimoog that brings studio quality to your live performances. For name of your nearest dealer, write Moog Music Inc., Academy Street, P.O. Box 131, Williamsville, New York 14221."
It uses phrases that have since become synonymous with Moog such as "the synthesizer that started it all" and "Moog quality and engineering", and for good measure references the Minimoog (smart move!). But even more exciting is the name dropping - Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Mike Quatro and ... one of my favs... Gershon Kingsley.

Gershon Kinglsey is probably best known for his song Popcorn.

Love that song. He also formed the First Moog Quartet, who were -  according to Wikipedia - "the first to ever play electronic music in Carnegie Hall." With Bob Moog there too! Kingsley passed away last December at the age of 97.

Now, I'm embarrassed to admit this next bit, and that's that I had a bit of a mind-blank for the first few minutes while staring at that lovely artwork in the ad. ELP, Kingsley and Quatro were all bands mentioned in the ad-copy, but I was struggling to remember the other two bands - Trilogy and Paintings.

Yeah... then it clicked. Trilogy is an album from ELP, and Paintings is an album from the Mike Quatro Jam Band. Duh.

And speaking of the illustration, I *love* the artwork used for this ad. There's even a signature there - Lawson - but I haven't tried looking it up to see if I can find anything interesting on the artist.

If you know more of Lawson's work, send me a note!

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!