Silence isn’t very effective.

That, more than anything, is the message of the iPhone 5C. In previous years, the arrival of a new iPhone was accompanied by the low-key repositioning of the previous model at a lower price tier — a strategy that allowed Apple to sell $99 iPhones, but didn’t allow the company to advertise them as new, interesting products. The old models sat with quiet pride in the corner of the Apple Store as people flocked in to see the latest magic from Cupertino, heralded by no banner except that of glories past.

That’s all changed with the 5C. It is less a new product than it is a vibrant reminder that Apple has the best marketing team in the business; the formerly staid and serious iPhone 5 all dressed up in a shiny new plastic suit and a thousand-watt smile, ready for a reintroduction alongside the more radically updated iPhone 5S.

And that reintroduction is critically important for Apple — it allows the company to advertise and promote the 5C and 5S as peers, members of a product family that stretches across price points. Last year a smartphone buyer with $99 to spend was quietly directed to Apple’s leftovers, but this year a bright pop of colorful marketing will lead them to what appears to be very new and very different. It’s already starting: Apple’s home page right now features the 5C, not the 5S, and the 5C is first in the new line of TV ads. What’s new enough is new again.

So really, that C doesn’t stand for “color,” or “cheap,” or even “cynically repackaged.” It stands for “communication.” With the iPhone 5C, Apple’s giving itself another opportunity to talk to you. Is it worth listening?