By Richard Menta 5/30/02
Here is a little item that may be destined to be a collectible 20 years from now. The people over at SonicBlue will soon release a co-branded MP3/CD player with Coca-Cola.
The announcement was made today on SonicBlue's website. The SP50C (C for Coke) is a version of the company's starter player the SP50. The unit will play both MP3-laden CDs and standard ones and will come with a car kit including a car cassette adapter and a cigarette lighter adapter .
"The COKE Brand SP50C is a highly attractive product tie-in for the Coca-Cola brand with significant promotional potential," said Susan Feeley, director, licensing for Coca-Cola North America in the company's news release. "This is an exciting and fun way to connect with consumers and we intend to showcase the product in several of our summer promotional campaigns."
Selling for $89.95, the unit indeed opens up a new marketing and sales avenue for both companies. It also is another signal that MP3's are well on their way to becoming mainstream despite the strenuous efforts of the record industry to kill the format.
The big winner here is SonicBlue who has come up with another way to retain as much market share as possible against increased competition. The major electronic companies all have MP3 products now and by this Christmas, most new CD products from the likes of RCA, Phillips and Panasonic will add the ability to read the major digital music codecs.
"We're bringing to market a very unique product that combines SONICblue's award-winning CD/MP3 technology with the power of the Coca-Cola trademark at an attractive price point," said David Huffman, vice president of audio products, SONICblue. "A great first product, we expect the COKE Brand SP50C to be highly popular and very visible this summer."
It certainly will be a nice giveaway at Coke sponsored events on the beach this summer, reminicent of the transistor radio's both Coke and Pepsi distributed in the 60's. Those players were designed to look like each companies vending machines. The way they did this player is not as clever, but maybe an interesting Coke MP3 flash portable is on the horizon.
The Rio Volt SP250 has an FM tuner and is available on Amazon
Other MP3 Reviews:
Review: WinMX 3.1
Review: SliMP3 Network MP3 Player
Review: eDigital MXP100 with VoiceNav