Meg’s blog about Christian Louboutin’s use of the color red got me thinking about another product that has recently benefited from color branding: headphones.
Eight years ago, Apple’s iPod TV commercial changed the way consumers see music. The dark silhouettes dancing against bright colored backdrops brought the contrasting white iPod and ear-buds to life.
Here is just one of iPod/iTunes ads run by Apple in recent years:
Apple marketed products under the rainbow logo for more than twenty years until 1998, when a corporate identity rebrand introduced the monochromatic/white color scheme. This change sparked a revolution in the iconic nature of their products.
After the iPod was introduced in 2001, white headphones became a virtual status symbol, and a badge of insider knowledge. Pinpointing the opportunity to brand this accessory was a stroke of genius (like so many other strokes of genius that can be credited to Apple), And thanks to Apple, the headphone craze has exploded internationally, as innovative branding has transformed a utilitarian necessity to a form of self-expression.
Living and working in New York City makes it difficult to let trends go unnoticed. Which is why my ears perked up when I started hearing about a new brand of headphones, ones which are not Apple white but – like Mr. Louboutin’s famous soles – red.
Monster Cable Products launched the “Beats by Dre” headphones in 2008, named for Dr. Dre, the famous music producer and artist. This relationship instantly gives the headphones cache in the music world, a vote of approval if you will. Sound quality aside, what makes these headphones resonate with consumers is the consistent branding of a red cord and a recognizable logo.
Not to mention, high profile athletes such as LeBron James wear their player-exclusive Beats in pre-game warmups for the world to see. Even international DJs can be seen sporting them at shows and festivals. Music videos from LMFAO to Lil Wayne have “Beats by Dre” product placement.
While other demographics may prefer a trusted, established brand like Bose or Marshall, the younger generations of society have learned to idolize popular culture, which is why having Dre’s stamp of approval means major bucks for the brand. These headphones don’t come cheap — “Beats by Dre” range from $89.99 to $459.99 – but the variety of price levels allows for music enthusiasts to find a perfect price point. I have to admit, I bought a pair of $89.99 iBeats when my left iPhone earbuds drowned in a glass of H2O, and I now hear elements of songs I never heard before.
And Beats by Dre isn’t stopping at red. In a recent commercial that ran during the Super Bowl, they highlighted headphones in a variety of candy colors:
Check out the new Beats by Dre commercial that launched Super Bowl weekend:
I look forward to seeing what brand will jump into the headphones ring next, and also to seeing what products will next benefit from color branding. What product do you think is ripe for the rainbow?