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Apple and Harry Styles echo iconic iPod ads with a bright new campaign for AirPods

It’s feeling a little bit like 2003 around here.

Apple and Harry Styles echo iconic iPod ads with a bright new campaign for AirPods
[Photo: Apple]

If you walked around any major city in the early aughts, you saw them.

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Apple’s “Silhouettes” campaign for the iPod rolled out in 2003, and from huge billboards to magazine ads, the blocks of bright colors with a dancing silhouette and unmistakable white earbuds, cord, and device were as ubiquitously inescapable as they were instantly iconic.

Now the brand is harking back to that earlier era with a new AirPods spot starring Harry Styles and featuring the track “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” from his new album Harry’s House. Styles asked Apple to donate his artist fee for participating in the campaign to the global humanitarian organization International Rescue Committee.

Created, like the original campaign, by TBWA/Media Arts Lab, it’s a fun throwback, with a few updated twists, that definitely maintains the original spirit. The first-ever “Silhouettes” spot featured Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama.”

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The original’s influence went far beyond its initial run, with elements in videos like Animal Collective’s 2009 video for “My Girls,” Drake’s “Hotline Bling” in 2015, and Sia’s 2016 “Cheap Thrills.” Also in 2016, Conan O’Brien spoofed the spots to point out the AirPods’ most frustrating potential flaw.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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