iPod Broke Through the Noise with These Musical Ads

Apple’s iPod is a relic now. The company has since claimed computer supremacy. However, in the early 2000s, Apple was not supreme. It had declining revenue and ranked No. 236 on the Fortune 500 list, behind IBM (No. 8), Hewlett-Packard (No. 19), Intel (No. 41), and Microsoft (No. 79). What saved it? Dancing silhouettes.

The iPod debuted in 2001—but it wasn’t until 2003 with Apple’s silhouette campaign that it took hold. The first ad for the iPod had a dude dancing to “Take California” by the Propellerheads. Result: Apple sold 125,000 iPods. Fast forward to 2003: Created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, the silhouette design was first disliked by Apple head Steve Jobs. However, with clever taglines like “1,000 Songs in Your Pocket”, Jobs became convinced. “I moved $75 million… to the iPod, even though [it] didn’t justify one hundredth of that,” Jobs said.

Initially using songs from indie bands, the campaign worked. So much so that in 2004, Jobs was approached by U2. The band had a song they thought was good, but needed exposure. Hence, the Vertigo ad. It and its silhouettes rocked Apple to the top. Apple sold tens of millions of iPods and billions more songs through iTunes. The music-infused campaign led Apple to its future iPhone and iPad dominance—even as its iPod faded into memory.

Apple’s move into the music biz with the iPod and iTunes not only springboarded it to its current prominence, but also changed the music industry. It showed Apple was back and “hear” to stay.

  • SOURCE: Adam Oldfield YouTube Video
  • BRANDS: Apple, iPod, U2
  • WHY THIS CAMPAIGN ROCKED: You can’t hear “hello, hello (hola) we’re in a place called vertigo” without seeing silhouettes 

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

Follow Dan on Speaking Human  /  Human Content from Dan