Anastasia Goodstein has a great column in BusinessWeek, linked above, about why the iPod worked for attracting teens. In my mind, the best reason is addressed at the end of her article and is below. The basic point is that in most cases if you try to reach teens, you don’t. They hate marketing. They want what’s cool but don’t want a big company to tell them it’s cool. Does that make sense? Basically, Apple is cool. HP and Dell aren’t. In my mind they shouldn’t try to be. And having Jay-Z do a commercial for you doesn’t do it. Know who you are.
“You don’t have to be for teens to reach teens. In some ways, this is the biggest lesson brands can learn from Apple. Their products are for everyone. Apple’s ads are not age-specific; the silhouettes show all different kinds of people. The spots also feature varied genres of music, even as they resonate with an MTV audience. It’s the brand values of creativity, diversity, and individuality, combined with a line of well-designed products that deliver, that has converted this generation of teenagers into Mac addicts.”
Disclosure – I used to work for Apple. I own stock in Apple and HP and used to own some Dell. Not anymore.