V-Moda Sees (But Doesn’t Go) Red

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High-end lifestyle brand V-Moda has unveiled two nww colors of its popular all-metal Vibe high-fashion earbud headphones, dubbed Red Roxx and La Mocha. The Vibe headphones are aimed at fashion-forward music enthusiasts, offering high sound quality with noise isolating features and a look at the company loves to boast is “on par with high fashion jewelry.” The new red and brown colorations are designed to complement Apple’s (PRODUCT) RED iPod nano, while the La Mocha edition is apparently aimed at Microsoft’s brown Zune music player.

(PRODUCT) RED is a company-spawning brand of products designed to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa: a portion of (PRODUCT) RED revenue goes to the Global Fund where it is applied towards education, treatment, and prevention programs.

According to V-Moda, the Red Roxx headphone set “perfectly matches the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition.” Val Kolton, founder and CEO of V-Moda, said in a statement: “V-Moda recognized the opportunity to design additional versions of our hi-fidelity earphones to complement these MP3 players, which resulted in the creation of Red Roxx and La Mocha.” And to seal the V-Moda/(PRODUCT RED) nano combination, the Red Roxx headphones will be available exclusively via Apple’s online store and Apple retail stores during February 2007.

But make no mistake: the Red Roxx headphones are not part of the (PRODUCT) RED brand. V-Moda is positioning its Red Roxx vibe headphones directly alongside Apple’s (PRODUCT) RED iPod nano without participating in the (PRODUCT) RED initiative.

It’s a move that may make even the crassest marketer or trend-conscious consumer cringe. After all, it’s one thing to design a series of high-priced headphones aimed at fashion-conscious consumers, then create new editions of those products to match current fashion. It’s quite another thing to bring a set of $101 headphones to market with the specific intent of capitalizing on the popularity of a program which tries to people who are dying of AIDS.

We’d hope V-Moda would re-think their strategy, and that Apple would be more careful about its exclusive retail arrangements.

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