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Apple heats up world-wide iPod advertising

In its race to remain on top of the digital media player market, Apple this month launched several additions to its world-wide iPod advertising, according to reports from around the globe. The extensive marketing push seemingly coincides with the availability of the company's new iPod Mini music player.

In the UK, Apple is placing iPod ads in Virgin Megastores, bus shelters, the London Underground and railway stations. Meanwhile, Japan is being ambushed by a flurry of colorful iPod television spots following the end of the iPod 'music bus' campaign. And sources say that by the time the iPod mini ships in Europe this April, France will also see an abundance of iPod TV commercials.

For the time being, Apple is using the St-Lazare train station in Paris as marketing hot spot. The station's terminal has become a place-card for Apple--the ceilings suspending colored iPod silhouette banners every few meters, while larger 30-foot by 10-foot panels hover atop of escalator platforms. Outside the Leidsestraat station in Amsterdam, an enormous blue iPod billboard engulfs commuters as they enter and exit the station.

Perhaps the most elaborate of the 'rail-station iPod campaigns' has just recently turned up at McGill subway terminal in Montreal. Here, colored iPod silhouettes ads consume the ticket stands, the waiting platforms, and even appear to be painted onto the turnstiles. Stairways leading out of the station have also been converted into colored iPod murals, with the front of each step making up the canvas.

According to sources, Hewlett-Packard--which recently signed a deal with Apple to sell its own version of the popular iPod music player--will only fuel the phenomenon when it increase its own ad spending later this year to promote the re-branded player.

The iPod mini, which garnered over 100,000 pre-orders before its launch last month, threatens to outperform the debut of the original iPod, which sold only 125,000 units during its first fiscal quarter.