Apple has shown their ability to drive pop culture. Their iPod mp3 player is basically the de-facto standard for coolness in the 21st century. People often refer to any mp3 device as an iPod, just as they call all facial tissues Kleenex. That’s an amazing position of dominance for any company, product or service.
One reason for Apple’s top spot is that the product is just flat-out awesome. It’s hard to compete against a technically superior product. The second factor is clearly style. The iPod has that look of sleek sophisticastion and ease-of-use that belies how powerful and revolutionary a device it is. Taken together, that’s a pretty amazing combination – one that easily accounts for the iPod’s status.
But there is something else at work here and it stretches all the way back to 1984. During the SuperBowl in that Orwellian year, Apple made an idelible mark on the world of advertising with it’s oft-studied, never-duplicated 1984 ad. They continue their winning ways with the awesome ads for the iPod, U2 iPod, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. They’re even cool in print. When regular people are making their own ads for your products, you know you’ve got a winner on your hands.
And what’s the coolest part about the ads. One could argue that it’s the rotoscoped style. That white silhouetted body against the brightly-colored background. Heck, people are willing to “iPod My Photo” to get that effect, so it’s a good argument. Not an argument I’m going to make, though.
The best part about the iPod ads is, in my humble opinion, the music. The things are 21st Walkmen, so why not use the ads to highlight the hipster tunes that all the cool kids will be pumping through their white, ergonomic headphones. I’m willing to bet that a major impetus of the iTunes Music Store was the fact that people wanted an easy way to buy the songs featured in the ads.
This entire post in one big exercise in meandering prose. I really just wanted to express my love for the current and former songs that made the iPod ads so enjoyable. Right now the iPod shuffle ad features Jerk It Out by The Caesars and I’m dying to get the whole thing. Below is a list of other, equally memorable tunes that made us all purchase our own iPods.
- Rockstar (Jason Nevins Remix) by N. E. R. D.
- Vertigo by U2
- Walkie Talkie Man by Steriogram
- The Seed by The Roots
- Hey Mama by The Black Eyed Peas
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
I’m sure I’m missing some more, but those are a few of the more prominent songs. My main pet peeve is that Apple doesn’t actively credit the artist/song in their ads. I’d love to see some kind of text overlay a la MTV or VH1 during the ads so that people could more easily find the songs for purchase. iCredits for the iPod ads. I’d even buy the entire Vertigo video done in that style.
Something to consider. Happy iPodding!