SanDisk launches ‘iDon’t’ anti-iPod campaign | iLounge News

SanDisk launches ‘iDon’t’ anti-iPod campaign


SanDisk, the No. 2 seller of digital music players in the U.S., has drastically stepped up its efforts to take on the iPod with a new Guerrilla marketing campaign. The company’s “iDon’t” campaign, launched over the weekend, consists mainly of an anti-iPod website, but also includes paid foot soldiers at university campuses. The “iDon’t” website’s main purpose is to promote SanDisk’s Sansa e200 music player by communicating to consumers that owning an iPod is unoriginal and that iPod users are followers.

“Calling all free thinkers, contrarians, and malcontents. The time has come to rise up against the iTatorship,” the site’s manifesto reads. “To resist the monotony of white earbuds and reject the oppressive forces of cultural conformity. Now is the time to break free from restrictive formats and a single source for music. Its time for choice, for freedom, for self expression—and for independent spirits to stand up and say ‘iDon’t’. You don’t need to follow. There is now an alternative.”

The “iDon’t” website proudly links to anti-iPod websites like Cyber Rodent, Anything But iPod, and iPod’s Dirty Secret. SanDisk is also selling T-shirts and offering free downloadable posters and desktop pictures featuring artwork such as iSheep, iChimp, iFollow, iHerd, iSchackle, iDroid, and iPuppet.

The SanDisk campaign is being handled by Grey Direct, which calls itself “a world-leading direct marketing agency with a focus on maximizing return on investment.” A news entry on the site by “Eric (a.k.a. Da Sheep Herder)” reads: “This site and the iDon’t campaign are the creation of several of us renegades behind the new Sansa player, from SanDisk. And this is our playful way of saying “Enough! Yeah, we’re just fed up with the ever-expanding flock of iSheep swarming through our cities. You’ve seen them. They’re everywhere. Every bus, train and city sidewalk is a mass of white headphones. Blindly they’ve bought into the hype without ever realizing there are other mp3 players out there.”

iLounge has received at least one report of an “iDon’t” representative approaching college students on campus offering free T-shirts. An iLounger reports that he was handed a black tee featuring an illustration of a chimp wearing Apple’s popular white earbuds (shown below). “So today, when I came out of my Monday morning lecture at university, putting my earphones on I notice this girl coming up to with a T-shirt,” he says. “At first I thought she was one of those annoying survey people, but I noticed there was more of them and then when I pulled my ear phone off she said ‘It’s!’ staring at the T-Shirt realizing that there is an ape with white earphones. She gave it to me because I have black earphones.”

SanDisk’s director of consumer product marketing, Eric Bone, said in February that the company wants to be “a strong No. 2 in the MP3 space,” adding that “there are people who, no matter what, will buy an iPod. All I want is for people to think there is an alternative.” SanDisk, which began selling digital music players in November 2004, used its weight in the flash memory industry and strong presence at American retailers to sell one million players during this past year’s holiday quarter, putting it in a distant second place to Apple.

+ Digg this story!


Related Stories



Oh brother…

Well, I’ll tell you how this goes. Most people won’t even care, because hype alone does not an MP3 player make.
When some iPod owners decide to try another maker and VERY SOON realize that it doesn’t sync well, or have any style whatsoever, they’ll return to the iPod. Point is, you have to have something beyond a marketing campaign to actually compete in a HARDWARE war.

I’ll be attending the Sandisk funeral from iLounge within the year.

Posted by Boris714 on May 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM (CDT)


Too bad there isn’t a iDon’t campaign for Windows users!  I bet most of those SanDisk weenies use Windows!  You know, there are alternatives!

I like the chimp shirt.  I’d wear it while listening to my iPod.

Posted by The Raven on May 22, 2006 at 3:55 PM (CDT)


It was me! they first forced me in to this underground room, then they took my iPod away and then, to humilate me further, they made my scroll through the Sansa! Oh the humanity! >_<

Posted by Doc Evils on May 22, 2006 at 4:01 PM (CDT)


Boris, you shouldn’t be so quick as to wish all Apple’s competitors to fold.  Remember that healthy competition not only drives prices down, but also stimulates progress.  Apple wouldn’t have any insentive to build a better player if everyone was happy with the iPod.  Don’t let what happened with the phone companies happen in the DAP market.

Sure SanDisk is being sleazy, but Apple is not exactly a saint when it comes to corporate bashing either.

Posted by Chahk on May 22, 2006 at 4:02 PM (CDT)


how utterly inspiring. a large faceless corporation whose sole goal is icreasing its own profits playing the part of the radical, hip young revolutionary, urging the masses to rise up against the giant companies and instead… buy products from another giant company! if that isn’t the true spirit of rebellion and revolution, i don’t know what is

Posted by Bradley on May 22, 2006 at 4:03 PM (CDT)


I’m sorry, but if this is an iPod alternative, and they accuse the iPod of being unoriginal, why did they rip off the look of the iPod AND the advertising?

Posted by jonyem on May 22, 2006 at 4:04 PM (CDT)



What I think is so great about Apple is that they don’t NEED an incentive to improve their products, they do it by nature.  They want to make the end user experience the best it can be.

Posted by The Raven on May 22, 2006 at 4:06 PM (CDT)


I’m trying to decide what’s worse…......this useless propoganda or all those meaningless lawsuits by you know who….......

Posted by Huskerz85 on May 22, 2006 at 4:09 PM (CDT)



I understand iPod competition is good…
But this is just blatant low marketing standards. I mean, compete on quality, not bashing. Most companies that try that tactic are just floundering (I’m looking at you Napster.)

Posted by Boris714 on May 22, 2006 at 4:09 PM (CDT)


I suggest we start the SanDisk “Don’t be a follower (unless, of course, you follow us instead)” campaign.

Posted by The Raven on May 22, 2006 at 4:21 PM (CDT)


Weak!  1) the chimp rocks - I, too want one,  2) their sad marketing ploy it completely transparent - down with the [other] man, and 3) comparing the choice of an iPod to ‘cultural conformity’ is like saying that eating well or exercising or enjoying the arts is the same - if it works right, why not.  iDon’t buy this load of crap and feel sorry for the sheep that do.  Rebelling against something just because it’s popular is sort of a waste of time - especially when you are just playing along with the marketing plan. 

Personally, I use black earphones and tuck my iPod away for only me to see.  I certainly don’t go dancing around like an iPod TV ad.  I chose the iPod cuz it works as well as and beautifully with my Mac.  I didn’t even know anyone with an iPod when I got it 3 years ago.  Sheesh!

Posted by David Wyatt on May 22, 2006 at 4:24 PM (CDT)


This should be renamed the “iDon’t Understand Human Interface Design”.
The way to beat the iPod in the market is:
a) Have the player just as easy to use as the iPod
b) Have the player cheaper than the iPod for the same capacity.
c) Have the player more connectable than the iPod.

The iPod uses an obfuscated file structure to prevent people from copying Music from Computer to Computer, but it is still more compatible than any other player in the market. You still can’t plug your Generic MP3 Player into an Alpine or Clarion Car Head Unit.

Posted by Daniel Woods on May 22, 2006 at 4:29 PM (CDT)


Also, this isn’t Guerilla Marketting, it is AstroTurfing.
Astroturfing is where you make an *Artificial* Grassroots Community Movement to promote your product.
Guerilla Marketting is where Genuine Fans of your Product use their own resources to spread the word.

Posted by Daniel Woods on May 22, 2006 at 4:33 PM (CDT)


I agree with the same campain but for computers, there area alternatives to windows pc.

I am a switcher that own a mac few months before the first ipod came, so I bought an iPod because i like it not because I dont know there are other options. The same for my first mac, a laptop I buy it because like the shape, exterior and willing to learn a new operating system, my second laptop shopping differe because I wasnt looking for a windows pc anymore, I just wanted the fasted mac laptop I could get.

Many people recomend what they use, so apple will continue to be the number one mp3 seller in the world.

Posted by sergio on May 22, 2006 at 4:35 PM (CDT)


Didn’t Apple have that big “anti-IBM” advtert campaign a few decades ago? And that whole “think different” one around 5 years ago? It’s always easier to go after the 800 pound gorilla.

Now, if Sandisk is the #2 DAP seller in the US, they must be doing something right hardware wise versus the competition and not they want to chip some off of #1.

Personally, a negative campaign won’t really give people reasons to get your product, just a bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t get THAT guy’s product. And, honestly, people don’t want to handle annoyances like “research” and “pricing” and learn a bunch of things about digital audio.

I love my ipod, but I weighed it against all options I could find and figured it was the best choice for me. Can you honestly say 100% of ipod users came to that conclusion?

I believe that some people pick iPod because they WANT to follow the pack. There is safety in numbers, after all.

Posted by icon on May 22, 2006 at 4:37 PM (CDT)


Wow, for a professional company, this is a completely immature way of doing business. Looks like Sandisk will be joining Creative in the grave.

Posted by Bonk on May 22, 2006 at 4:39 PM (CDT)


This is ridiculous. If you want to advertise, advertise why your player is better than the iPod. Explain to me why I should buy it, feature over feature, instead of the iPod. I don’t like companies who trash talk other companies and call would-be consumers “followers” and “sheep.” This whole campaign reminds me of a politicians. Instead of telling me why the other candidate sucks, tell me why I should vote for you.

Posted by Rene on May 22, 2006 at 4:42 PM (CDT)


You all are defending a company who only achieved success with the iPod when they turned to a 100% style, 0% substance ad campaign. Modern iPod ads are nothing but fluff pieces designed to get you to associate a feeling with a piece of metal and plastic, and it’s worked wonderfully. Good luck figuring out what the product actually is from the ads though ;)

I think the SanDisk campaign is a good one. Their players have genuine potential, and they’ve already managed to trounce everyone else in the North American market other than Apple. Besides, what could be better than handing out a few T-shirts and having all the tech pages talking about it on Monday morning. Now that’s some return on investment for advertising :)

Posted by Code Monkey on May 22, 2006 at 4:44 PM (CDT)


Apple pretty much set their place in the MP3 market. No company but Apple will lead the MP3 player market. No matter what, people will always buy iPods. Take teens for example, they saw the iPod, it’s awesome design, and started buying it for fashion. As long as people see other’s with an iPod, they will buy one too. At my school, I estimate at least 80% of MP3 player owners have an iPod. So Sandisk, this campaign is a worthless and dumb idea.

Posted by joe on May 22, 2006 at 4:45 PM (CDT)


I have an IPOD and my wife has a Sandisk e130. There shoudl be a t-shirt/ad for iDon’t use Sandisk. The hardware and interface on the Sandisk is so clunky and useless compared to my IPOD isurprised they even sell at all!

Posted by Andy on May 22, 2006 at 4:55 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy