In the streets of SoHo, New York City, a revolution against the iPod is taking place. But it is not what it seems.
Posters identical to the print advertisements below (which have cropped up in the city's Village Voice newspaper) have been multiplying in the trendy, hipster-inhabited areas south of Houston Street. Their message: those who purchase the 'Pod are mindless sheep incapable of making their own informed choices when it comes to the selection of portable audio products. By inevitable extrapolation, if you own an iPod, you ain't so smart. And is that what you want the entire world to think when they see that incriminating white headphone cable snaking from ear to pocket? Of course not! Revolt, dag nab it!
Typing in the URL on the poster (idont.com) leads to a grungy-look site festooned with a Flash-animated flock of headphone-wearing sheep. Subversive, no? The intro is a call to arms for all who might salvage their individuality:
Calling all free thinkers, contrarians, and malcontents. The time has come to rise up against the iTatorship. To resist the monotony of white earbuds and reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity.
As a free thinker, contrarian and sometime malcontent, I decided to find out more. What did this apparent street-level, grassroots vigilante group suggest as a method of removing Apple's stranglehold of the collective intelligence and freedom of our impressionable youth? Oh. They want everyone to buy a Sansa e200. And it's not a guerilla group of culture-jamming alternaguys and girls. It's a marketing company.
Yep, the posters, print ads and Web site were designed to resemble the work of an edgy anti-mass consumerism group, but it's all one big ad for a Sansa MP3 player.
I'm interested to find out people's reactions to this marketing approach. Of course, it's nothing new for advertisers to try and impersonate those they are selling to, but the philosophy behind this particular campaign -- don't be a sucker by giving your money to Apple...um, give it to us instead -- seems ironic at best. Especially since the Sansa player rather resembles its ivory-hued nemesis.