Note: Godin Guitars (OFFICIAL) censored me on Facebook for this blog. I do not "like" Godin Guitars (OFFICIAL) on Facebook anymore.

Roland Canada recently launched a guitar synth challenge. The idea is to make a 5 minutes video exhibiting a Roland guitar synth product in action, and the top three winners get an admittedly neat price (Godin guitar + Roland GR + Cakewalk software product).

Even if I were a Canadian, I wouldn't participate in this challenge. This is not a challenge but a con (and this is not the first time Roland does something like this).

If you read carefully the contest regulations, you will find this:

By entering the Roland Guitar Synth Challenge, entrants agree to grant Roland Canada Ltd., its affiliates, partners, subsidiaries and authorized representatives worldwide the right to capture and use their video entry, name, likeness, image or voice in photographic, audio, video, digital or other forms of media (the Media). They also recognize that the Media shall remain at all times the sole property of Roland Canada. They understand and acknowledge that the Media may be used without restriction by Roland Canada Ltd., its affiliates, partners, subsidiaries and authorized representatives worldwide for commercial promotional purposes and acknowledge that they shall receive no compensation of any kind for the use or non‐use of the Media. They also acknowledge and hereby waive any right to inspect or approve the Media or the eventual use to which the Media may be applied.

So in essence, what this means is that every participant is kindly invited to offer Roland the best advertisement video clip they can come up with, for them, and for free of course. The first top three will get a modest compensation and the others will have Roland's eternal gratitude for their hard work (that they will be able to use aggressively without any restriction whatsoever). This is a hell of a marketing campaign. And a cheap one for sure.

The other contest regulations are just as aggressive as this one. For example:

Entries that contain prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by Roland Canada, in its sole discretion, will be disqualified.

Obviously. I wonder, for example, what would happen to an entry exhibiting the use of a clever pedalboard (such as the combination of a Beringher FCB-1010 and a Gordius LGM) instead of an FC-300. I wonder what would happen if in your video, you made a zoom on a rack containing not only a GR product but also an Axon 100 MIDI converter...

So thanks but no thanks. I won't be enrolled into free marketing for a company from which I need to buy products. And for those of you potential participants who think they could get some notoriety out of this, think again: in which circles do you want to be notorious? Amongst other geek musicians or amongst your audience that knows squat about musical instruments?

Roland is in fact well known for this kind of perverted "have your cake and eat it" trickery. Roland is also known for explicitly not doing endorsement deals (no surprise here). When you go to a concert and see a synth with its brand name blacked out, you can bet pretty easily which brand is hidden behind the rubber tape. Remember folks, Roland is not friend with musicians. Roland is a corporation. No matter what, Roland is, and always be... the BOSS. :-)