If you were part of the generation that grew up in the era of MP3 players, music CDs and downloading music off erm…certain platforms, you would’ve been familiar with the iPod and all its versions.
In what we can only say is the end of an era, just last week Apple announced that it would be discontinuing its iPod range, after 20 years. For enthusiasts and those who’d like a piece of history, the iPod touch will still be available for purchase, albeit till stocks last.
Taking a walk down memory lane, here’s our list of the 7 best ad campaigns for the iPod that we’ve seen through the years.
1. The First Ever Ad (2001)
Image adapted from: TheApple Nerd
When it comes to looking back at ad campaigns for the iPod, where else do we start than right at the very beginning?
In the original commercial that aired all the way back in 2001, the ad starts off with a guy jamming out to some tunes while working on his MacBook. The scene then cuts to him moving some music files in his iTunes library, presumably to showcase how hassle-free and seamless it is to fill your iPod with music.
He then disconnects his iPod from his MacBook, plugs in some earphones, and begins to break into a dance. To cap off the ad, the voiceover aptly summarises what the newly-launched iPod is all about: a thousand songs in your pocket.
Overall, we have to say it was a pretty simple yet ingenious ad to promote the iPod’s unique selling point. Looking back, it sparked a whole new generation of products, and marked Apple’s first foray into the portable music device market.
2. Silhouette Ad (mid 2000s)
Image credit: u/AtomicSpiderman
If you were a 90s kid, chances are you would’ve seen this ad that eventually spawned many memes and spoofs.
To further boost the publicity and brand recognition of the iPod, Apple released a very catchy and vibrant ad featuring various silhouetted figures rocking out to upbeat tunes. What was also cool was that the highlight of the ad – the iPod of course – stood out from the black silhouettes with its iconic white outline. Just to remind everyone what the star of the show is.
This vibrant ad was probably primarily targeted at the teen and young adult audience, by injecting upbeatness and energy that they would identify with. Using silhouettes of varying characters also conveyed the message that the iPod was for people from all walks of life, thus creating that brand connection with the public. It certainly gave off the vibe that having an iPod made you part of the cool kids club.
3. iPod Nano Chromatic Ad (2008)
Image adapted from: nalyd11
Up till the mid 2000s, the iPod was a black-and-white screen device synonymous with the colour white, and known to be rather bulky in size. Well, at least by today’s standards.
One milestone of the iPod’s 20-year journey was definitely when Apple moved away from the original build, and unveiled their iPod Nano range. The latter came in a rainbow of colours, with a significantly slimmer design and most importantly, full-colour screens.
Though simple, the ad was successful in bringing about hype and buzz over the new range of brightly-coloured Nanos. By juxtaposing the iconic Apple white with the colours, it signified how Apple was injecting more vibrancy and energy into their product line.
4. iPod Shuffle Run, Commute, Bike, Relax Ads (2008)
Image credit: Adeevee
In early 2008, Apple unveiled yet another iteration of the iPod series – the iPod shuffle (4th Generation). It marked another milestone of the iPod, as the Shuffle was basically a condensed version of the original iPod, sans screen.
Image credit: Ads of the World
The ad campaign involved a 4-part series of visuals, profiling the Shuffle’s versatility in any scenario. Whether it’s a run through the park, a bike ride around a lake, your daily commute to and from work through the city, or even a day off relaxing at the beach; the ads conveyed the message that the 4th Generation Shuffle was a perfect companion for any occasion.
Apple also ingeniously incorporated the Shuffle into real-world photos, and making the design relevant to its use. We certainly loved how the earphones’ wire mimicked the route that people would take, such as commuting across the city or walking around in circles at the beach.
5. iPod Eminem Ad (2006)
Image adapted from: TheiPodSpot
When it comes to advertisements, having some star power in the form of celebrities, famous athletes or personalities helps to draw the audience in.
After Apple first launched the silhouette ads, it started a whole wave of similarly-styled ads for the iPod that soon became its signature. In subsequent versions of the silhouette ad, Apple partnered with several music stars such as rapper Eminem and rock band U2, complete with songs from their range like Lose Yourself and Vertigo respectively.
Other than the iPod itself, the ad was also Apple’s attempt at promoting its partnership with music artists, thus encouraging people to populate their iPods by purchasing music through iTunes rather than from other sources.
Combining the product with an easily-recognisable music star while still keeping to the overall spirit of the silhouette ad was a genius masterstroke, and definitely earned itself a spot as one of the best iconic iPod ad campaigns.
6. iPod Touch (2007)
Image adapted from: Ty Moss
When the very first iPhone was launched in 2007, it – for lack of a better phrase – broke the internet. It also signaled the death of the tactile keyboard in all phone designs to come.
Apple then went on to apply this groundbreaking design concept to the iPod, which then gave rise to the iPod Touch which resembled the iPhone in many ways, and perhaps only lacked cellular capabilities.
The Touch’s commercial did a pretty good job in highlighting the key features and unique selling points of the product, by demonstrating what people could do with the device. In this case, the Touch came with motion tracking, a host of dynamic games, and the option for landscape and portrait orientation. It even allowed you to partner up with other iPod Touches to play the same game!
7. iPod Nano 6th Generation (2010)
Image adapted from: kenediaTube
Across the iPod world, there were those who loved the touchscreen feature of the Touch, but wanted something smaller in size. On the other hand, others loved the versatility of the very small Shuffle, but wanted more control in selecting music choices than just a random playlist.
Combining the innovative touchscreen feature of the iPod Touch and the small form factor of the iPod Shuffle, Apple came up with the 6th Generation iPod Nano as a ‘best of both worlds’ music device. The ad features various people clipping on their Nano at various places, such as the strap of a sling bag, pants pocket and a belt.
Looking back, the ad worked because it was a simple depiction of the selling point of the Nano – its versatility and no-frills nature, suitable for all occasions. The commercial also demonstrated how you could easily control your music and select music, aptly highlighting the product’s draws.
We’d say that this was probably the key common denominator across all of the iPods’ ads, that it creatively profiled the product and its key features without being too ‘in your face’.
Concluding 20 years of iPod ads
Looking back at the various ad campaigns of the iPod, we cannot help but be hit in the feels. After all, we observed its transformative journey over the years, with its designs working as significant markers of our childhood.
As we bid our final goodbyes to the iPod, we are reminded that ads back then were just as iconic and memorable as the ads we see today, and need not be convoluted to get the product’s message across.
Perhaps in 20 years time, we would be looking back at the ad campaigns for the iPhone, and reminiscing about the good old days!