Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rogers Drum Company Ad--Downbeat magazine

Drum Companies, like all other businesses, have used various means to get their message out to the public. In the 40's, 50's, and 60's, the print media was particularly effective. But unlike today, there were only so many outlets that were available  that made sense.

Downbeat Magazine was the choice of many, if not all, of the music manufacturers at the time. The magazine was very influential in the jazz and dance band circles. Musicians read it constantly, for it was one of the only magazines that focused on the subject matter. It seemed that every page had an  advertisement calling attention to a specific instrument and the company that manufactured it. Which brings us to the ad you see pictured here.

Up until the late 50's,  the Rogers Drum Company was a weak sister compared to Ludwig and Slingerland.. Even the Leedy Drum Company had more presence than Rogers. Things changed dramatically when Henry Grossman bought the company in 1955. Joe Thompson, an employee with Grossman Distribution, agreed to join  the company as chief designer and engineer.  Ben Strauss, another employee, joined the Rogers team as the head of marketing and publicity.  They immediately set about changing the drumming world landscape.

The pictured ad appeared as a two page (double truck) ad in Downbeat magazine in the early 1960's. This is only one page. As the ad states, Rogers held a 5 day percussion exhibit at the Edison Hotel on Times Square. Nearly 2000 percussionists attended the event, including the Company's principal endorser, Buddy Rich.  Rogers used the occasion to feature the new Swivomatic hardware, which was revolutionary for the time. Nothing like it had ever been seen, or used for that matter. Nevertheless, the introduction of this hardware skyrocketed the Rogers brand from an also-ran to a major player in the field.

Rogers Drums quickly became the "Cadillac" of American Drums. The shells and hardware  were  the envy of the drumming world. The drums were not cheap, clearly they were the most expensive American made drums at the time. But you "got what you paid for.".

Today, Rogers Drums continue to shine like a beacon so many years after their splash in the early 60's.