Elton John 'Nobody Wins' ad for LinnDrum in Billboard Magazine, July 4, 1981. Few people realized how relatively small the Linn operation was, even at its peak. Their consistent image of substantiality in all advertising and collateral materials was no accident. Independent designer Eric Wrobbel and president Roger Linn understood and agreed from the beginning that everything on which the Linn Electronics name appeared should be first-rate. https://www.ericwrobbel.com/art/linneltonjohn.htm

Cashing in on Elton John

“Nobody Wins”  by Elton John (Geffen 49722–Warner Bros.) was one of the earliest singles, if not the earliest, to hit the charts using my client’s LM-1 Drum Computer. We decided to take advantage of this occasion in our advertising. As we prepared this ad, we hoped to be able to put a big #1 next to the title, but advance chart position reports were disappointing. After all was said and done it was not a big record for Elton John, but it did help kick off the era of the drum machine.


Typophiles will recognize the Helvetica typeface. I never use it much—it is just too common and in body text isn’t as legible as people think it is. I forget the reason I chose it here—I probably thought its very commonness would give us a bit of credibility in a magazine environment where we were virtually unknown. And there wasn’t so much copy that I had to worry about fatigue. In any event, I’m sure I researched the publication before I made my choice. Billboard magazine is a very crowded place. The white space used here made this ad very effectively stand out.

Few people realized how relatively small the Linn operation was, even at its peak. I worked very hard to put forward an image of substantiality in our advertising and collateral materials. Here consistency is essential. To Roger Linn’s great credit, he understood from the beginning that everything on which the Linn Electronics name appeared should be first-rate. Things fell apart a bit at the end, but hey, don’t we all?


What: Concept, copy, design, art

For: Linn LM-1 Drum Computer ad Billboard Magazine July 4, 1981

Client: Linn Electronics



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