More than half (56 per cent) of Macworld readers think the new iPod ads currently being aired on British TV are "cool".
But nearly a fifth (19 per cent) say the adverts – involving silhouettes of dancing people against vibrant backgrounds – make them "want to change the channel".
A quarter (25 per cent) of readers haven't yet seen the ads.
There's mixed reaction to the iPod commercials on the Macworld Online Forum. One reader said: "They are a well produced, eye-catching, memorable, well-targeted piece of advertising that will boost iPod sales," adding: "I hate them like I hate all current adverts on TV."
Another commented: "They are stylish, and don't look like anything else on TV."
AdAge executive producer Hoag Levins, a self-confessed iPod fanatic, told Macworld: "Apple is on the right track by focusing its iPod advertising on the young and hip because that is the market segment that has responded most strongly.
"In fact, the iPod has become such a wildly publicized cultural phenomenon because these ads have worked so well. The silhouetted dancer spots have been highly memorable works that are rarely effective in their expression of the sheer musical joy of iPod listening."
Missing a trick
However, the world's leading expert on the social impact of personal-stereo devices – Sussex University lecturer Michael Bull – says "the adverts only focus on a very narrow market". He added: "It's wrong to assume that only the youth use personal stereos, as they get older they still use them.
"There are people who play Beethoven and Jazz on their iPod, and the Apple iTunes Store also reflects this diversity, Apple should market the iPod to these people, too."
Media Week senior editor Mike Butcher agrees: "Targeting youth makes sense from a prime-marketing perspective but because the iPod is not the cheapest player around, this would suggest the market is actually a bit older."
He added: "Most of the people I see with iPods are in their 30s. By advertising specifically at the youth market Apple may be missing making more sales. I think Apple has a nut to crack when it comes to positioning versus the marketing of the product."
Yet the youth market could be a lucrative one for Apple. AdAge editor Scott Donaton told Macworld: "These ads appear to be aimed at a narrow group, but it is a group where there is the most opportunity. Young people are the largest purchasers of music and, in recent years, are the ones more likely to have used illicit sites to download music free.
"In addition, the ads have a wider affect. They don't alienate older consumers but draw them in by appealing to their youthful spirits."
He concluded: "Apple's iPod marketing has been brilliant, and extends the company's reputation for innovation not only in products but in consumer communications."
Apple has confirmed that its second-wave iPod campaign will last for just over one month. The company says the campaign will start with national TV until mid-March, and then coverage will increase from March 1 when an outdoor campaign kicks off in London and Manchester.
Apple's London and Manchester campaign will include iPods adverts on bus shelters, in the London Underground and in railway stations.
Surfs up In related news, the New York Post reports that the iPod ad features the song Channel Surfing by a DJ named Feature Cast, is misleading.
The Post points out: "Channel Surfing isn't available on Apple's music store, iTunes."
Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg said: "It's a little ironic that they chose to put that song in the commercial. There's probably someone in the publicity department who is a little red-faced."