Apple Nano Spots Seek To Put Color Back In Sales

screenshot of Apple's Nano chromatic ad spotApple recently launched a TV spot called "Paint" to market the Nano's makeover. Bright, long and thin are back. The MP3 players now come in pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple--and yes, grayish-black and sparkling silver.

The spot, created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab, uses a catchy tune, "Bruises," from the artist Chairlift. The video, which can be viewed lengthwise or widthwise on an iPod, shows Nanos floating through the air. They come to a stop, staggering against a white background like colorful paintbrushes on a blank canvas, bleeding from the bottom their respective color. Each displays an album cover that matches the color of the Nano.

The message "Nano-chromatic" flashes in the ad before seeing the Apple logo surrounded by splatters of paint.

Apple communicates well with its target audience by tapping an unmet need for self-expression through customizing music playlists, says Amy Shea, EVP at marketing and branding firm Brand Keys. "This is a modern phenomenon because in my generation you bought a CD or album. There were groups of people who listened to The Grateful Dead or Aerosmith. Now you have real individuality through creating your own soundtrack."



Shea says Apple does not have superior MP3 technology, but rather a delivery system that also makes it easy for people to express themselves through iPod and Nano color choices. Another marketing move that set Apple apart from the competition, she says, were the white earphones and wires at a time when other companies only offered black, making the consumer stand out.

"Apple knows the generation they communicate with speaks in visuals, color and music," Shea says. "They are a less language-oriented generation and more visual and musical."

Caroline Johnson, a trend specialist based in New York, says Apple's ad addresses the more adventurous, expressive consumer, and creates "design news" without taking too much of a step forward. In referring to the new iPod colors, she says the ads are reminiscent of a "rainbow" color marketing strategy that Apple used for iMac in 1999.

That year, a Manhattan Bloomingdale's window featured an iMac display with flavor colors: Strawberry, Blueberry, Grape, Lime and Tangerine, the colors coordinating with women's fashions. The television ad featured twirling iMacs in different colors as the Rolling Stones sang "She's a Rainbow."

Although the message has transitioned from iMac to iPod, Johnson wonders if the bright "new colors are enough to attract consumer interest in a darkening retail climate," as many tighten purse strings in uncertain economic times.

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