Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hypnotized By Advertising

Over the weekend I was flipping through a music magazine and I saw a full page ad for a new Tascam digital accessory for guitar players. This ad:

The product is that little red thing on the girl’s leg.

It’s a digital recorder that also functions as an amp, tuner and metronome/drum machine. It can do overdubs onto a recorded track. And it can manipulate sound files, like looping and slowing down a section without altering the pitch. Cool stuff.

The ad worked. It made me want to buy the product.

But I didn’t immediately run out and buy a Tascam GT-R1, because I can do most of those things with stuff I’ve already got lying around. And, when I was younger, I once owned a Tascam PortaStudio. It was a great product. Fun to use. Well made. But I never really got into sound recording. It’s so easy these days to record video and manipulate video that I can’t get too excited about plain old sound recording.

But the ad made me want to buy a GT-R1.

The ad was so effective that I still feel the urge to buy a GT-R1.

I’m thinking it’s the image of the hot young rock and roll girl sprawled in a chair chording on a Strat.

Interestingly, you can see specifically it’s a Fender Strat she’s playing, not a copy. And you can see the whammy bar is unscrewed. You can see the hole where the whammy bar gets screwed in. Did the art director do that on purpose?

Jerry Mander, a famous ad guy who left the field, once wrote that it’s fun to try to recreate an ad in real life, or at least imagine doing so, because it can help you see into the manipulations at work.

If you recreated a girl sprawled in a chair like that with the recorder balanced on her thigh, would the recorder actually stay on her thigh, or would it slide off and fall to the floor? The art director certainly did that on purpose.

It’s a good ad!

I don’t really need the product. But I want the product. And before the week is out I’ll probably own one. A Tascam GT-R1, I mean. Not a rock and roll girl.

No one gets to own them.

Rock and roll girls.

[Sighs. Tomorrow’s post is going to be called, “Quasi Una Fantasia.” Yep!]

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