iPod: The Marketing Premium of Choice

by Julie Salickram Mar 29, 2006

A marketer is always looking for the lure that will drag in an otherwise unwilling participant into a desired activity: interact at a conference booth, to read an email, to enter their vital contact information into a website database, subscribe to an email, complete a users survey, so on and so forth. And, as nearly anyone can tell you, poor or rich, young or old, everybody loves something for nothing. A free gift can elicit a Pavlov’s Dog type reaction in nearly anyone. As a marketing professional (by financial need, rather than by personal desire), I am continually overwhelmed at how nearly everybody, in nearly every industry, for nearly every type of audience, uses an iPod as their premium gift of choice. Apple iPod junkies, I know this is nothing revolutionary, new or even particularly surprising, iPod is a cultural phenomenon that everyone has glommed onto. My shock, I suppose, is the uniformity with which this strategy has been adopted, so much so as to render it ineffective one might think, but pardon the straying thoughts of my mind…

To see if it was just my imagination or if the iPod giveaway lure was as pervasive as I suspected it was, I conducted the ever complicated Google Search. I entered in “Win a free iPod” and, alas, 283,000 entries came up. Oh my! My theory on abundance of use thus proven, I set about browsing the entries to prove hypothesis that said item was used for a variety of audiences. Again, I was happy to prove my theorem right, in no true scientifically sound way at all.  I used simple random clicking.

And these are not just the usual spammer and scammer culprits using this strategy this, though they are certainly there in the mix. Many a legitimate company, conference and website use the cache of iPod ownership as the bait, sans the switch. Our own AppleMatters has awarded an iPod or two in its day as well. It just so happens, I just found out, that AppleMatters is giving our readers a chance to win a shuffle right now. Why? Just ‘cause we’re cool like that. Really.

Here are some of the organizations I uncovered touting a chance to win (either currently or in the recent past) and why it seems they did it:

United State Tennis Association: Complete a survey to win
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles: Visit the website
National Restaurant Association: Visit their booth at a conference
The Chicago Diner: Stop by the restaurant
Ekb the band: Attend their concert
Vintela Software: Download their whitepaper
Xbox Solutions – Make a purchase on a sponsors’ website (Not truly a free giveaway, huh?)
Novell Software: Complete their training and assessment, score 70% or better and be entered to win (You have to jump through a few hoops for that one, don’t you think?)

So where am I going with all this? Nowhere in particular, to be complete honest with you.  Just a whimsical little observation on a lovely Spring day about the Apple cultural phenom, iPod, quickly becoming the salt and pepper of modern day technology. Thank you for indulging me. Now go take a nice walk. Bring the iPod along too, while your at it. If you are missing one, a friend “borrowed it” or your dog ate it, try your luck.  Enter-to-win one.


  • It is cheaper and has better VFM smile


    Anand Batra had this to say on Mar 30, 2006 Posts: 4
  • you’re least likely to cry over it if you lose it

    ollytang had this to say on Mar 30, 2006 Posts: 1
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