How Apple’s iconic iPod ads introduced me to the power of advertising

The iPod: sleek in design, extremely user friendly and with the capacity to hold most (if not all) of even the most hardened music aficionado’s collection. While we have become accustomed to the ‘cool’ Apple products of the here and now, there was a time when words such as ‘bulky’ and ‘inconvenient’ were far more fitting for your favourite music device.

The iPod: sleek in design, extremely user friendly and with the capacity to hold most (if not all) of even the most hardened music aficionado’s collection. While we have become accustomed to the ‘cool’ Apple products of the here and now, there was a time when words such as ‘bulky’ and ‘inconvenient’ were far more fitting for your favourite music device.

I remember that time only too well; I followed the linear progression from a Sony Walkman to a portable CD player before purchasing one of the first iterations of the MP3 player. The latter held only about 10 songs, which, even for a 15/16 year old with a relatively small amount of music, was a bit of a chore.

This was probably the reason that I was so captivated by the first iPod adverts, it seemed too good to be true. Phrases such as ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’ were banded about, vibrant colours interwoven with cool tracks from bands like Daft Punk, executed in a minimal and simplistic way.

The only real reference to Apple was a snapshot of the instantly recognisable logo, seeming almost as if it was included only as an afterthought. I’m not sure if the iPod adverts necessarily got me into advertising but they certainly made me sit up and take note of how powerful an advertising campaign can be, especially with a product worth shouting about.

It was also the first time I had really been aware of effective cross channel marketing, with television commercials, magazine adverts, posters in public places, and wrap advertising featuring the now famous silhouette outlines – ensuring that the iPod adverts became almost as iconic as the brand itself.

While many great campaigns have come along since (some far more complex than the iPod adverts), it did make me realise that, when it comes to advertising, subtlety as opposed to brashness is not always a bad thing.