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Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131663 05/22/08 06:21 AM
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seebechstein Offline OP
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Why is there an advertisement for Steinway posing as news on today's Wall Street Journal? (Article link below.) Characterizing all pianos of a certain brand as all being far better and more desirable than any other piano make -- give me a break, this is extremely misleading and is advertising, not reporting.

Quote
International star and Uzbekistan native Yefim Bronfman recalls when the Tashkent concert organization acquired a new Steinway. "Nobody local was allowed to touch the instrument," says the Grammy-winning Mr. Bronfman, who was a teenager at the time and already playing concerts. "I was begging the promoter to even play one note of it. It was a very guarded commodity." Today, he performs exclusively on Steinways. "A good Steinway has a way of inspiring a performer," he says.
I would agree, a GOOD Steinway can inspire a performer. What about all the bad ones?

Ref: Wall St. Journal (article?) ad for Steinway

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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131664 05/22/08 08:18 AM
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While it is admittedly a good plug for Steinway, it seems like a legitimate article from someone who is a Steinway fan, and did their homework.

In any case, it's nice to see they listed us as a source of piano buying information in the box at the end laugh


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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131665 05/22/08 09:10 AM
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Steve Cohen Offline
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Placing stories like this is rather commonly used as a marketing tool in many industries.

I see nothing wrong with doing so.


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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131666 05/22/08 09:10 AM
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Piano*Dad Offline
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They did indeed. I sent her an email with an invitation to join the asylum here!

P.S. Steve, I doubt the story was placed. Do you have any reason to think so? The story was written by a WSJ reporter.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131667 05/22/08 10:15 AM
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I just read the story in this morning's Journal. Ms. Chaker did very well for herself. She got a great sounding and very playable Model B for $22K.

An instrument must be judged by its price as well as by its sound and condition. I wouldn't want this one at twice the price, which would be a more typical asking price, but for $22K and needing nothing but tuning and regulation, how could you go wrong?

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131668 05/22/08 10:54 AM
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This strikes me as a nice first-person feature by a reporter who really wanted a Steinway. I doubt sincerely that Steinway put her up to this. Most reporters, and WSJ reporters have the reputation of being some of the finest in journalism, are suspicious of industry PR people (also known as flacks).

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131669 05/22/08 11:17 AM
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I just thought it was a cool personal story and not an ad. Would you have considered it an ad if she had wanted a C. Bechstein instead of a Steinway? I wouldn't have. Plus, she did give relatively good---if minor---mention to M&H as well as C. Bechstein as other recognized good brands. She is just one of thousands and thousands of people for whom Steinway has meant "great" piano. Clearly many others think that's bull, but it's no different than the other thousands and thousands of people who grow up dreaming of wanting a Porsche without ever even being in one. It wouldn't have bothered me anymore if she had written about the Bosendorfer or Yamaha of her dreams. The cool part was the story of her renewed love for the piano and her effort and ultimate success in buying the one that was right for her.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131670 05/22/08 11:30 AM
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This story seems to have grown out of personal experience. Few reporters would incur a personal cost of $22,000 to write one story...

But you might be surprised, PianoDad, large numbers of stories you read in the paper are "helped along" by calls and notes to reporters from interested parties. This is a significant mode of gaining profile in a lot of industries - and is known in the marketing trade as "earned" advertising, in contrast to paid advertising.

However lofty their social status, even journalists have been known to take the path of least resistance... laugh

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131671 05/22/08 11:30 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by seebechstein:
Why is there an advertisement for Steinway posing as news on today's Wall Street Journal? (Article link below.) Characterizing all pianos of a certain brand as all being far better and more desirable than any other piano make -- give me a break, this is extremely misleading and is advertising, not reporting.

Quote
International star and Uzbekistan native Yefim Bronfman recalls when the Tashkent concert organization acquired a new Steinway. "Nobody local was allowed to touch the instrument," says the Grammy-winning Mr. Bronfman, who was a teenager at the time and already playing concerts. "I was begging the promoter to even play one note of it. It was a very guarded commodity." Today, he performs exclusively on Steinways. "A good Steinway has a way of inspiring a performer," he says.
I would agree, a GOOD Steinway can inspire a performer. What about all the bad ones?

Ref: Wall St. Journal (article?) ad for Steinway
Freedom of speech smile
some like Steinway, some like something else
some like Yammies, some like Kawai.

so what? be your own judge. Why get upset?

just amazing :rolleyes:

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131672 05/22/08 11:40 AM
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Any nice story about buying a piano is better than none at all. I enjoyed the read, and the story is not uncommon. Not that I'm the expert, but my impression of ethics at the WSJ is good, and I doubt the story is some kind of plant.

Cool plug for PW! Congrats, Frank!

BC cool


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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131673 05/22/08 12:19 PM
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Its called BRANDING, BRANDING, BRANDING. I must tell you that IMO there are pianos that are as good if not better than Steinway, the mystic is created and people feel as if Steinway sets the "bench mark" and all other pianos are merely cheap copies. I note in conversations such as these we never talk about Tiffany's blue bag or the Rolex crown.

It's percieved value. My hat is off to the two great names Steinway, and Yamaha for creating this image that will be a challenge for anyone in the industry to meet now.

I don't carry either of these brand so this is NOT a plant or advertisement. Simply an observation.

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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131674 05/22/08 12:40 PM
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The reporter plays piano and is very fond of Steinway.

An affordable Steinway becomes available.

She buys it, tells her boss (an editor) about her experience, and the editor says write it up.

Why must there be anything else going on?

For $22K, this is a story in its own right.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131675 05/22/08 12:49 PM
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Quote
I must tell you that IMO there are pianos that are as good if not better than Steinway
So what. I happen to agree ... see which piano I bought. And I'd love to escort her around to a number of stores so she can try out a wide range of pianos.

But there is absolutely no evidence here that the WSJ has been party to direct, or even to indirect, product placement.

I know that it CAN happen, but there is no evidence here that it DID happen, so I find the speculation about it to be out of place at best, and sour grapes at worst.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131676 05/22/08 01:03 PM
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If I were Steinway, I'm not sure I'd be all that pleased with the article. Sure, it speaks highly of the S&S name and sound, but it plants seeds of doubt about the wisdom of buying a new one. I'd feel pretty bad about spending $70k (or whatever they cost) on a new B if I thought that I could get an old one that might be better for $22k. I know, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Still, it seems unlikely that S&S had anything to do with the article other than to supply a rebuttal to the claim that new S&S pianos aren't as good as the old ones.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131677 05/22/08 01:03 PM
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There is a related video embedded in the online story. I've watched that now. You might want to check that out, PianoDad. The story is more balanced than the video, which appears to have been scripted by PianoMadam! "Generations" of craftsmen, the "piano of choice for the world's finest musicians", the whole nine yards - as if it was prepared with Steinway marketing materials as the primary information source.

Am I upset with the story and especially the video repeating the company line? Not really. The news story is a different sort of animal than postings here on Piano World. The reporter's writing is not a dialogue, as is expected here in a forum venue, but instead is reportage, representing one person's point of view and personal experience.

I enjoyed reading the story and watching the video, though I did have a few chuckles at the voice-over. I think S&S marketing rhetoric goes a bit over the top, but how can you not like seeing real-world piano-loving technicians getting their hands dirty as they work on instruments they love?

None of this is "hard journalism", and there is nothing "wrong" with it being there. The challenge is out there to other makers to "earn" space in the media by presenting their stories in an interesting way that will attract media attention.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131678 05/22/08 01:11 PM
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Quote
The story is more balanced than the video, which appears to have been scripted by PianoMadam!
Yikes! laugh


I'll have to check it out later.

Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131679 05/23/08 07:18 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by seebechstein:
Why is there an advertisement for Steinway posing as news on today's Wall Street Journal? (Article link below.) Characterizing all pianos of a certain brand as all being far better and more desirable than any other piano make -- give me a break, this is extremely misleading and is advertising, not reporting.
It's a "human interest" story, which is not "news" per se but it's certainly not advertising.

Quote
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
I must tell you that IMO there are pianos that are as good if not better than Steinway...
Preference is subjective, so I'm sure that many people would agree with you. What I don't understand it why people who disagree (i.e. like Steinway best) are automatically in the wrong.

Quote
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
the mystic is created and people feel as if Steinway sets the "bench mark" and all other pianos are merely cheap copies. I note in conversations such as these we never talk about Tiffany's blue bag or the Rolex crown.

It's percieved value. My hat is off to the two great names Steinway, and Yamaha for creating this image that will be a challenge for anyone in the industry to meet now.
I think anyone who does their homework will come to the realization that there are a number of great makes out there, and yes, a number of cheap copies. Do Steinway and Yamaha get a bump in their perceived value? Maybe... probably... but I'm not going to award all the kudos to their respective marketing departments. They are solid, well made instruments with an oft-times gorgeous sound, and that's done just as much for their brand recognition as anything else.

Quote
Originally posted by Wumpusbear:
If I were Steinway, I'm not sure I'd be all that pleased with the article....
Which is why I'm sure this quote was included:
"Our point of view is that technical innovation means that the Steinway today is the best Steinway ever," says Leo Spellman, senior director of communications for Steinway & Sons, the New York-based piano unit of Steinway Musical Instruments Inc.

Quote
Originally posted by birchy:
The story is more balanced than the video, which appears to have been scripted by PianoMadam! "Generations" of craftsmen, the "piano of choice for the world's finest musicians", the whole nine yards - as if it was prepared with Steinway marketing materials as the primary information source.
Truth be told, I thought the video had nothing to do with the story - other than it involved Steinway pianos. What she wrote was about her search for her dream instrument; the video was about the craftsmen at the Steinway factory. I actually think the WSJ did the story a disservice by linking it, because whereas the article is specific that the Steinway is the author's preference, the beginning of the video is very much in the vein of "Steinway, the ONE, the ONLY!"

It was very heavy-handed, and god, was that the most charisma-sucking voice-over ever. Please don't let me dissuade anyone from watching it though, because the time spent with the actual craftsmen is delightful and worth getting past the opening.


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Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. ~Jean Paul Richter
Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131680 05/23/08 08:15 AM
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I liked the video embedded in the article.

We live in challenging economic times, I am sure they are thrilled that this article appeared in such a well-respected paper.

Editors are very wary of editorial (translation: free) endorsements of for-profit companies or products. It de-legitimizes the rest of their business if it is perceived that endorsements are for sale.

I felt it was fair and that the information was useful to an average reader.


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Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131681 05/23/08 08:46 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by USAPT:
I liked the video embedded in the article.
Please don't get me wrong, I liked the parts of the video where the craftsmen spoke about how long they had been with the company, and what their specialities were. It was magnificent as they are the true heart and soul (IMO). When the craftsman in the Brazil t-shirt says, "These instruments are for the immortals," I don't see it as marketing - I see as pride in the creation.

But the reporter's dreary-toned introduction makes me want to hit mute, then she says, "to a pianist, there's no instrument quite like a Steinway." Umm... that's pretty one-sided and she's no longer representing it as her opinion, but as a fact. Regardless of whether I agree (personally, I love Steinways - I covet my teacher's Hamburg), it's a journalistic no-no.


Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. ~Jean Paul Richter
Re: Steinway advertisement posing as news on WSJ? #131682 05/23/08 11:13 AM
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Mat D. Offline
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...it beats most of the news we read these days!

Mat D.

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