With the recent introduction of the colored iPhone 5C, it’s almost as if the technology of the newest iPhone has taken a back seat to the colors of the model. Is the familiar sight of Apple’s brand blurred by the mere presence of a hot pink iPhone? Does the lime green stray too far from the company’s otherwise consistent branding?
“Color is more than just a hue. It expresses a feeling. Makes a statement. Declares an allegiance. Color reveals your personality. iPhone 5c, in five anything-but-shy colors, does just that. It’s not just for lovers of color. It’s for the colorful,” touts the iPhone 5C’s homepage.
While the 5C has its fans, it also has its much more vocal critics. Many claim that the plastic 5C is a far cry from what we’ve come to expect from the Apple brand – sleek, clean design coupled with a minimalist silver and black color palette that subtlety says, “I have the money to pay for something shiny.”
“One of the iPhone’s biggest strengths has always been its branding as a luxury item, a device that lends its owner an unparalleled aura of cool and chic,” writes Jenna Worthman of The New York Times. “Having the newest iPhone or iPad was an even stronger symbol of status.”
Originally tweeting “oh no no no apple oh no” when the 5C was unveiled, Wortham interestingly changed her tone after a pleasant discussion with a youth on the subject of smartphones.
“Because for better or worse, Apple isn’t just about ownership — it’s about shownership, and inspiring desire and jealousy in those around you that you’ve got the latest device,” says Worthman.
How far can the introduction of the 5C go towards boosting Apple’s presence among younger smartphone consumers? Not that the iPhone is starving for support among the younger demographic, but a 2012 agency survey did shed some interesting light on the subject.
The survey found that while 67 percent of affluent teens preferred an iPhone for their next upgrade, 22 percent pined for a Samsung. While the lead might be substantial, 22 percent is nothing to sneeze at, especially as it relates to market share.
So could a simple color shift really make that much of a difference? Any marketer will tell you that color can have a tremendous impact on a company’s overall branding. While the associations one makes with color are mostly personal, the hue of a logo or product can hold a broader, more universal message – one that’s much more likely to be shared by the public.
Though the colors of the 5C models may be the initial hook, there’s additional appeal for younger consumers – the smaller $99 price tag. It’s that dollar figure that’s most likely to help Apple’s chances is securing a larger share of the younger demographic vs. Samsung.
Does the color and cost reduction come with risks for the brand? Could green, blue, yellow and pink potentially bleed over and run into Apple’s otherwise sleek, silver branding? Does the smaller price tag on the 5C boost the bottom line but risk harming the larger brand? Hayley Tsukayama from The Washington Post seems to think so.
Time will tell how much of an impact on the marketplace the colored iPhone has, but for the for now, I urge you to go to the 5C’s official website and create your own Frankenstein monster of Easter-inspired colors, polycarbonate plastic and modern day tech.