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Johnson, Mike (ed.) / Leblanc Bell : A newsletter for music retailers, educators, employees and friends of G. Leblanc Corporation
(May 6, 1996)

Ad venture,   pp. 25-31


Page 26

continued from page 25
examples of advertising design and for
the insights they provide on the times
during which they were produced.
Glancing through the hundreds of
Leblanc ads, it's easy to notice a com-
mon thread that runs through all of
them. That theme, simply stated, is that
every instrument Leblanc sells,
whether Leblanc France, Courtois,
Vito, Holton, Yanagisawa or Martin,
is created with the idea that music
comes first. Leblanc instruments
achieve this goal by being musically,
acoustically and mechanically correct-
regardless of whether the instrument
is artist-quality or a popularly priced
student model.
Artist musicians demand the bal-
anced intonation, technical virtuosity
and acoustical correctness that Leblanc
instruments possess. However, it is also
important for Leblanc to bring artist-
quality features to student musicians,
who must be afforded every advantage
in overcoming early obstacles to music
making. Company-wide, we take great
satisfaction when Leblanc instruments
spur students' progress, reward their
The 1953 advertisement below, featuring
Henri Druar4 represents Leblanc's first
use of an endorser in its American ads.
achievement and help them
derive the pleasure that
stems from playing.
Besides the theme that
music comes first, two sub-
themes emerge from many
ads, old and new.
The first is that of quality
and craftsmanship. Leblanc
often tells readers how its
instruments are made and
why making them that way
is superior. Over the years,
Leblanc has listed its patents
for new manufacturing pro-
cesses and told how these
innovations produce better
instruments. It has an-
nounced the use of new or
different metals and alloys
that improve tone or dura-
bility, and the company has
revealed how it has brought
higher standards of quality
to musicians and to the
music industry as a whole.
The subtheme of quality
and craftsmanship demonstrates that
when it comes to making music, a
technically superior instrument simply
makes better music.
The second subtheme might be para-
phrased, "Don't just take
our word for it." Leblanc
has always let its top en-
dorsers tell the public why
they play our instruments.
Although a technically su-
perior instrument is cer-
tainly easier to play better,
Leblanc also recognizes
that many players respect
and rely upon the judg-
ment of fellow players
who have achieved great
technical and artistic pro-
ficiency. Often, musicians
rely more on word of
mouth when choosing an
instrument than on a
specification sheet full of
technical information.
L produce its advertising,
Rk         Leblanc has used the ser-
vices of some of the
nation's most respected
advertising agencies, and
for a period in the late
1960s, many of Leblanc's
ads were produced by its
own in-house advertising
department. Two of the
most notable agencies
Above: In the early 1950s, a precocious
Larry Combs was featured with his in-
strument ofchoice, the Leblanc Symphonie
model 476.
that Leblanc has used over the years
are Young & Rubicam (New York and
Chicago) and Cramer-Krasselt (Milwau-
kee). Although Leblanc has garnered
numerous awards for its ads, Leblanc's
association with Cramer-Krasselt
earned the American Advertising
Federation's highest honor, a national
"Addy." Each agency, however, has left
its own creative mark as its legacy.
Let's look at a sampling of the advertis-
ing that Leblanc has produced over the
last 50 years.
One of Leblanc's earliest ads ap-
peared in The Instrumentalist, with a
documented publication date of No-
vember, 1947. This one-column ad for
the Noblet metal clarinet (see page 25)
serves as a perfect example of how
Leblanc stressed the quality and crafts-
manship of its instruments. The text
reads in part, "Sturdy, trouble-free per-
formance ... positive, easy action ...
these are reasons why leading teachers
recommend Noblet, the clarinet with
shock resistant hand-forged keys." The
term "hand-forged" later became
power-forged, a description still in use
today. Also of note in this early ad is
that Leblanc's Kenosha location is re-
ferred to as the "American Division-"
ITHE LEBLANC BELL SPRING/SUIMIMER 1996


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