Sunday, February 26, 2006

The iPod Generation

Hip and young, Apple’s iPod advertising follows a path originally set by Pepsi’s “Pepsi Generation” ad campaign. Originating in the 1960s, that campaign was one of the first to ignore a product’s attributes and instead highlight the lifestyle of the product’s consumers.

Along with inaugurating lifestyle advertising, the clever twist of “Pepsi Generation” was this: Young people responded because it talked to them, and older people responded because it touched an impulse toward being young again, if just for the trivial choice of which cola to drink.

Now fast-forward 40 years, to the recent past. Lifestyle advertising is commonplace, although less so in the tech-product marketplace. In 2003, iPod ads appear that show youthful silhouettes losing themselves in music. Millions of consumers respond, including George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth, whose generations have yet to be represented in the iconic ads.

In 2004, the circle connects as Pepsi and Apple team-up on a promotion whereby consumers can win Apple iTunes downloads by purchasing Pepsi. Where Steve Jobs once taunted then-Pepsi CEO John Sculley about “selling sugar water,” Jobs apparently learned some lessons from Sculley’s business nevertheless.

[The photo of iPod advertising is from flickr user CharlieBrown]

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