IPod advertising

IPod advertising

Apple has used a variety of distinctive advertising campaigns to promote its iPod portable digital media player. The campaigns include television commercials, print ads, posters in public places, and wrap advertising campaigns. All of these advertising techniques are unified by a distinctive, consistent style that differs from their other ads.


The more famous commercials and print advertising featured dark silhouetted characters against bright-colored backgrounds. The silhouettes are usually dancing, and in television commercials are backed by up-beat music. The silhouettes are also usually holding iPods and listening to them with Apple's supplied earphones. These distinctively appear in white, so that they stand out against the colored background and black silhouettes. Apple changes the style of these commercials quite often depending on the song's theme or genre.

The original television commercials and posters featured solid black silhouettes against a solid bright color, which usually changed every time the camera angle changed. Some of the television adverts also depicted highlights on the silhouettes using darkened shades of the background color, and shadows on the floor. Since then, various commercials in the campaign have changed the format further:
* One live action TV commercial made reference to the silhouette theme to emphasize its icon status. It involved a man walking past a set of silhouette posters, which came to life and danced when his iPod was playing, but froze when he paused it.
* The TV commercials for the iPod shuffle used a green background with black arrows moving in the background representing the "shuffle" icon. The silhouettes danced on top of the arrows as if they were a moving floor while listening to iPod shuffles hanging from white lanyards.
* Following the release of the fifth-generation iPod, two TV commercials, one featuring Eminem and the other Wynton Marsalis, made radical changes to the style, by exchanging the solid changing backgrounds for abstract composite backgrounds based around a main color (orange and blue respectively). The camera shots alternate between the artists performing their songs (Eminem sporting a white microphone, Marsalis' drummer sporting white drumsticks) and traditional silhouette dancers listening to iPods. The solid silhouette was also traded for a more varied silhouette, which shows certain facial features of a person. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has suggested that this more complex composition will be the style of future commercials as well.
*In early 2006 a new type of iPod commercial was released. It was thirty seconds, and it spotlighted album art. The album art was constructed into a city, and then dismantled and it flowed into an iPod nano and said "1,000 songs in your pocket", the slogan for the 1st Generation iPod.
*In August 2006, another reimagining of the iPod commercial was introduced through an ad for Bob Dylan's album available in the music store, "Modern Times". In this new style, the only silhouette facet of it was that it seemed lighting was reduced on the figure of Bob Dylan and the female dancer, while the iPod was brightened. Color variation, as well as reflection on the face of the guitar, is evident. The ad is much more realistic and the people, as well as details, are much more visible. This ad was an almost complete departure from the traditional, and even the Eminem-styled adverts of the past.
*In September 2006, Apple once again reimagined their vision of the silhouette ad campaign to go with the new iPod nano aluminum case. They made a departure from the contrasting background and characters. Both the characters and the background are thrown into deeper shadow than we've ever seen before, and, in order to showcase the new colors of the nano, the characters swing their nanos around while dancing, which leaves a luminescent light trail.
*In November 2006 Apple used their original style again in their Latino TV Ad.
*Also in November 2006, Apple released a new ad for the second generation iPod shuffle, which featured people clipping the minuscule player to different articles of clothing while jamming to the beat of Prototypes' "Who's Gonna Sing?".
*At Macworld 2007, Apple debuted their new ad campaign, featuring a reverse color scheme of previous campaigns: Colored silhouettes on a black background, as well as a second styled ad featuring colored silhouettes amongst a dynamic, moving and multi-colored background.
*a mandolin performing his song "Dance Tonight" being very much like an updated version of the Eminem commercial, having backdrops of buildings and featuring Paul McCartney walking with animations of shapes around him.
*In November 2007, Apple released a new ad using a similar formula to the one used with the "Mi Es Tropical" ad, but with a light emanating from the background as if the characters were on a stage. This time the ad is featuring Mary J. Blige along with a group of dancer in silhouette form. The song is "Work That" from the album "Growing Pains".
* YouTube member njhaley (More commonly known as Nick Haley) created a fan commercial of the iPod touch. Apple was impressed with the commercial and then contacted him about putting the commercial on the air. He and Apple's advertising agency TBWA then got to work on making a more polished version of the Ad which ran during the 2007 World Series on Fox. [cite web |url=http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/hughes/20604 |title=YouTube Fan Creates New iPod Touch Commercial |publisher=Yahoo |accessdate=2007-11-25 |date=2007-10-26]
*In April 2008, a new ad was released following the original formula - but with animated backgrounds and more detailed silhouettes. The song was "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by The Ting Tings
*On May 20, 2008, a new ad premiered during the American Idol finale. It follows the original form but with even more animated backgrounds and Coldplay is shown in the shadow. The song was Viva la Vida by Coldplay.

References in Popular Culture

* "MAD Magazine" - In the "Series of Unfortunate Events" movie spoof, Lemony Snicket is always shown in shadow (as is the case with the movie). In one panel of the spoof, he is shown with an iPod. In the MAD March 2006 issue the cover was a parody of the iPod silhouette ad and inside there were panels that spoofed the silhouettes.
* On the "Family Guy" episode, "Petarded", Peter laments that losing the kids because of his mental retardation was worse than when Stewie starred in an iPod commercial. The next scene shows Stewie dancing to Scandal's "The Warrior" in the same style as the people in the iPod commercials.
* An episode of "Weebl and Bob" ("Piepod") shows them dancing in the style used in the advert. [http://www.weebl.jolt.co.uk/piepod.htm]
* In the episode of "The Simpsons" 'Thank God It's Doomsday', a poster on the wall of the Christian shop Homer visits displays a silhouette of God wearing an iPod. The caption reads 'iGod', and is a clear reference to the advertisements.
* At the end of another Simpsons episode, Ice Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair), iPods take over the world. Also, in yet another episode, Grandpa Simpson tries assisted suicide, where he is linked to a giant "DiePod"
* In Stephen Colbert's first Green Screen Challenge, an entry included Stephen Colbert dancing on a colored background with a white iPod in his hand.
* In a season 12 episode of "MADtv", they introduced an "iRack" to hold iPod accessories; and also the "iRan." These were relating to the issues of United States in Iraq and Iran, but poked fun at Apple nonetheless. They also made an "iPad"-skit. In a season 13 episode, they did a parody of the Feist ad.
* Quebecois rock band Simple Plan's When I'm Gone music video featured scenes similar to the second generation iPod Nano commercials.

Music featured in televised advertisements

* La la La was shown at "The Beat Goes On" but never aired to television, possibly due to the fan created "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" commercial by Nick Haley.


*"Pachuco" by Kumbia Kings
*"Fell in Love With A Girl" by The White Stripes
*"Electropop" by Jupiter Rising


External links

* [http://www.apple.com/ipod/ipod.html Apple iPod] — Official website

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