Remember the Maxell ‘Blown-Away Guy’?

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Maxell’s “Blown-Away Guy”

We’ve written about the fond memories that many a classic rock fan had for their car’s in-dash 8-track players. They were introduced by the Ford Motor Company in 1965 and became a convenient way for drivers and their passengers to be entertained while in their car or truck. (Many fans fondly recall the exact moment in their favorite songs when the cut would be interrupted as the cartridge switched tracks.)

But what about the 8-track’s cousin, the humble cassette? There were two sides of the coin when it came to the little plastic gems. On the one hand, they were so small that they were the most portable way to “consume” music (a term that we didn’t use then). In the pre-iPod and pre-smartphone days, if you were on a road trip, you’d grab a batch and slap them into your car’s cassette player to make your journey go faster. And when Sony introduced the Walkman, you had plenty of content (we didn’t use that term then, either).

What’s more, you could record on them… whether it was copying a friend’s album, or converting your own LPs to cassettes. Blank tapes typically cost only a couple of bucks for a 90-minute cassette, good enough to record a full album on each side.

But the minuses probably outweighed the pluses. We could go on and on. The plastic shell was easily breakable. So, too, its case. The tape could break, melt in the heat, and eventually–the bane of our existence–get mangled in our tape players.

In 1979, Maxell‘s ad agency created a TV spot that blew us all away by emphasizing their tape’s “high fidelity.” It starred a leather-clad guy, in shades, sitting in a Le Corbusier chair. (The proverbial coolest guy in the room.)

An article in Adweek dissects the reason for the ad’s tremendous success. As a marketing consultant told the magazine, the “Blown-Away Guy” ad “evoked the emotional pleasure of listening to music alone. It was all about the sound quality and the experience, and Maxell was going to blow you away.”

The TV ad’s print counterpart bragged “After 500 plays our high fidelity tape still delivers high fidelity.”

Watch Maxell’s “Blown-Away Guy” ad

When we tweeted this story on Dec. 20, 2022, we were thrilled to see who replied to the question in our headline.

Related: Our story on the revolutionary Sony Walkman

Best Classic Bands Staff

12 Comments so far

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  1. Dan
    #1 Dan 4 February, 2018, 07:43

    The speaker used in the ad appears to be a JBL – L100.

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  2. John Rose
    #2 John Rose 5 June, 2018, 08:59

    Maxell used that still pic as in-store advertising. I remember many of those posters winding up in dorm rooms. Perhaps it was also released as a poster you could buy. (I notice the Amazon link for the art print — nice touch). I thought the still by itself was more effective than the t.v. ad.

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  3. Celya723
    #3 Celya723 30 November, 2019, 19:25

    Who played the Maxell listener please, and was that wine he was drinking?

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    • Bomber
      Bomber 2 December, 2019, 16:29

      The listener was the makeup artist.Family Guy did a parody of this in an episode.In the british version the model was Peter Murphy from the band Bauhaus.

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      • JohnL
        JohnL 5 January, 2021, 10:30

        Jac Collelo was the guy in the picture. He was actually the hair and makeup artist the photographer Steve Steigman used and through a series of events they decided to use Jac for the shoot. No idea about the wine. Sadly both Jac and Steve are no longer with us.

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  4. Baybluesman
    #4 Baybluesman 11 October, 2021, 19:43

    This Ad is exactly the reason I bought my first Maxell XLII Chrome High Bias cassette tape, and utilized them thereafter in my recordings ( with an occasional diversion to BASF and TDK, but not often).
    Great effective marketing by Maxell, as it still resonates today.

    Reply this comment
  5. Jas
    #5 Jas 21 December, 2022, 04:08

    I’ve had that poster framed and hanging on my wall since it first came out 40+ years ago! I got it at an audio show at what was then the DC Convention Center. And I still have hundreds of Maxell tapes that I recorded back then and still listen to today.

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  6. Jas
    #6 Jas 21 December, 2022, 04:13

    I’ve had that poster framed and hanging on my wall in every place I’ve lived ever since it first came out! I got it at an audio show at what was then the DC Convention Center. I also still have hundreds of Maxell tapes that I recorded and still listen to!

    Reply this comment
  7. message2urudie
    #7 message2urudie 19 June, 2023, 05:39

    That picture/poster has been my computer wallpaper for years. I also have many of the tapes with recordings from my albums made on my Teac A-450 cassette deck from back in the day. Now, I must confess, I haven’t listened to them in decades.

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  8. Bill Mitchell
    #8 Bill Mitchell 5 December, 2023, 18:21

    I met both Jac and Steve Steigman (the photographer).
    We were shooting a commercial for a fast fod chain at the time. It was in 1988.

    Reply this comment

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