Nashville, TN (November 13, 2007) – In what has to be one of the more creative PR campaigns we’ve seen in the guitar industry for a while, Gibson is touting the December 7th release of its Robot Guitar with an array of marketing tools that are as interesting as the Robot Guitar itself.
The Robot Guitar is an impressive piece of technology. No, it’s not a bipedal robotic axe controlled by a human entrenched in a torso cockpit as its Gundam-ish name might suggest. The Robot Guitar is basically a Les Paul that can tune itself via a system of electronics and motorized tuning keys. Initially, Gibson introduced the concept as the Les Paul PowerTune guitar but the hype didn’t seem to match the guitar’s capabilities. With the new Robot branding and a much heavier PR push, it seems the hype is abundant – gadget magazines, daily news print organizations and of course, music-related publications are taking the story and running with it.
Rather than just promote the guitar as a self-tuning guitar -- something different manufacturers have tried to nail down for a while and have even invoked as a functionality of modeling guitars -- Gibson is selling a much bigger picture: the fact that a self-tuning guitar opens the door to a new world of tunings, the intonation function of self-tuning technology, and even the improved ear players can develop after playing properly-tuned instruments.
Also, Gibson wisely set up web pages that explain the tunings of dozens of familiar songs, throw love on the inventor, and help you find a select dealer that will have ten Robot guitars for sale come December 7th.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the campaign is the viral component. A number of videos were created to teach you about the guitar as well as hype the product. The instructional vid, (at the bottom of the video page, labeled “instructions”) is must-see viewing for anyone who plays guitar. Whether you want a Gibson Robot guitar or not, you need to be aware of this axe and what it does.
Sure to be panned by some snooty folks in the industry, the video page’s humor-driven clips will have many guitarists in stitches. A parody of Psycho and other campy plots depict the guitar coming to life, escaping from the factory and acting out evil intentions. In one clip, the Robot guitar even kills a Fender Strat, baiting the Scottsdale-based company into what could become a friendly war of media jabs between industry giants. Considering the NASCAR-ish Ford vs. Chevy owner-taunting that many Gibson and Fender guitarists already engage in, the campaign strategy has the potential to take guitar manufacturer advertising into the beer-commercial zone of entertainment rather than just strict informational advertising. Don’t count on it though -- industry behemoth Fender gains nothing by acknowledging a competitor. Too bad; that kind of public sparring would be quite interesting, actually.
Perhaps the boldest part of Gibson’s Robot Guitar campaign is the promotion’s Limited Editions page, which lists the original prices of a number of classic Gibson guitars, followed by information about how soon each series sold out or how much they were valued at down the road. Whether the Robot guitar's first series becomes another highly sought-after model remains to be seen, but clearly expectations are high.
For more information:
Gibson Robot Guitar