Brand Case Study 1 – “Beats” by Dre

November 9, 2017By

If ever there was a brand that was tailor-made to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to product placement in music videos, it would be the “Beats”. It produces audio products and is a subsidiary of the “Apple Inc.”. The company was founded in 2008 by Dr Dre and Jimmy Lovine. Dr Dre was heavily involved in the music industry as a producer and rapper, whilst Lovine was the ex Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman.

Dr Dre who went from rapper to joint founder of “Beats” by Dre

Since its creation, the “Beats” has invested heavily in music videos with its aim to invest in already established artists. They wanted their product to be cool, and, since 2009, they have appeared in over 40 videos. In 2008, a number of music videos of the artists, such as Soulija Boy (“Bird Walk”), Kardinal Offishall (“Dangerous”}, New Kids on the Block (“Single”), Lady Gaga (“Just Dance”) and Snoop Dog (“Those Gurlz”) were produced with the artists wearing the “Beats” headphones. It did not take long before the success of these videos resulted in the “Beats” becoming a multi-billion-dollar company. Their position became even stronger in 2014 when Ed Sheeran promoted the new Solo2 headphones in his music video “Sing”. With the record becoming number 1 in several countries, this made the “Beats” even stronger in the market place.

The company was enjoying the benefits of being able to take advantage of product placement in music videos. The easy accessibility of the video and repetition meant that there was a constant playing of the video. During this period, there was a real growth in social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This gave people the opportunity to share the videos giving more and more visibility to the audios and, thus, greater returns to the “Beats”.

Beats Solo2 – everyone appears to be wearing them

In 2014, the “Beats” also used product placement on Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj music video “Bang Bang”. This was slightly unusual, as it did not just advertise just one product. Both the “Pill” speakers and headphones were promoted, as the “Beats” continued to invest in this part of the music industry. Not every musician or band was clamoring for the financial support that came with using product placement in their videos. In 2002, both Radiohead and Coldplay publicly denounced those who were taking advantage of this support with Chris Martin claiming that the Coldplay had already turned down 55 million pounds in potential advertising deals.

Coldplay then appeared to do a sharp U-turn on this high moral standing in 2015 when it appeared to embrace product placement as the “Beats” headphones were plugged on their music video “Adventure of A Lifetime”. In time, people’s attitudes towards product placement have changed. When it first appeared in music videos, some people took the moral high ground claiming that others were selling out embracing this new phenomenon.

Chris Martin has appeared to change his attitude toward product placement over years

As the years have passed, it is now accepted that every song needs a video which does need funding. When the “Beats” entered the market, it had the advantage over other products that their audios gave it a more respectable position than many of the other brands. They have also been able to exploit this to work with many successful and established artists.

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