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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Beats is an iconic audio product company that specializes in producing headphones, earphones, and speakers.  Beats was created by Andre Young, known as Dr. Dre by the rap/hip hop community.  Dr. Dre pioneered a whole new genre of rap through the late 1980s and early 1990s that has created what it is today.  His hometown of Los Angeles, California was in turmoil during his height of fame in the music industry.  The Los Angeles Police Department was abusing their powers by unlawfully arresting and disrespecting African Americans in communities such as Compton and Watts.  Dr. Dre faced much criticism during this time for producing music that was said to start riots and provoke violence.  According to Dr. Dre, he was producing music that was simply “a reflection of their reality”.

This mentality of doing what you want and ignoring what anybody thinks about it is exactly what Beats was founded upon.  A company daring to explore and take risks that other companies would never take.  In 2006, Interscope Records mogul Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre  believed there was an immense decrease of audio quality because of Apple's plastic earbuds.  Apple was selling $400 dollar iPods accompanied with $1 earbuds.  Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine sought to create headphones that recreated the excitement of being in the studio that no other audio brand was doing at the time.  Iovine and Dre focused on going to people with great taste to develop their headphones ranging from stars such us Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani.  They were so effective in driving consumer behavior and creating a stylish and authentic product that celebrities started wearing it for free.  In 2008, Iovine sent a pair of Beats for basketball star Lebron James to try out.  Two weeks later at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, all 15 players on the U.S. National Team was wearing a pair of Beats headphones when they arrived off the airplane.  Four years later, Beats created a space in London where they only admitted athletes from the Olympics.  This was a place for the athletes to relax and get away from the Olympic Village and meet other athletes.  The Beats house was the place to go.  Each athlete received a pair of Beats headphones specialized with their country's color.  From the pool deck to the basketball court, 4,000 athletes were seen on worldwide TV wearing Beats.  This was all free marketing and in turn, Beats received massive feedback from the news and athletes.  Omar Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer of Beats from 2010-2016, played a large part in increasing the brand's awareness by being the first headphone company to use the sports world as a major advertising market.  A majority of athletes wear a variety of obscure and out of the world clothing to games and in their daily lives, which is why Johnson believed that the look and style of the headphones was equally as important to the quality of the sound it produces, making it a favorite for athletes all around the world.  Beats has tapped into the stories of sport and entertainment to sell the emotion of sound.  They ultimately grasp what consumers really care about.  They make their product look appealing and put forth advertisements that encompass passion, emotion, and storytelling that give people chills when watching their commercials.  This creates a real connection between the product and consumer that gives people not just a want but a need to buy their product.  

Beats has always pride themselves in being the first headphones truly made for hip-hop.  This is because Beats produces a bass heavy sound that other companies such as Bose and Sony did not do in 2008 when Beats came to market.  Hip-Hop is the most popular genre of music today which is why Beats' is currently the leading seller of headphones in both North America and Europe.  Headphone companies such as Bose and Sony at the time were focusing more on orchestral sound instead of hip-hop.  From 2008 to 2009, sales increased from 59 million units at $490 million to 68.7 million units at $648 million.  At the end of 2009, Beats' sales accounted for nearly one third of the market.  Beats has increased in popularity immensely in both North America and Europe.  Beats is a company that never gets comfortable or complacent.  They're always working to get better and bigger.  Some other big players in the headphone market are SkullCandy, Sony, Monster, Bose, and Apple.  Apple bought Beats by Dre in 2014 for 3 billion dollars.  Beats are known to produce high quality, luxury audio products.  All of the top six brands sell their products for around the same prices as Beats.  In December 2016 in the United States, Beats held 46% of the wireless headphone market dollar share.  The second company in line was Bose who held 19% of the wireless headphone market dollar share.   Beats was again named best selling headphones in 2017 in terms of dollar share.  Bose, Sony, and SkullCandy followed in succession.  What these other brands lack with their headphones is style and marketing.  Beats produces headphones in a variety of colors from red to purple to green to gold.  They give people the ability to personalize their headphones to match their style of clothing or accessories.  In addition, Beats is owned by one of the most famous hip-hop artists in the world, Dr. Dre.  Having a brand named Beats by Dre produces a large amount of popularity and demand because Dre's name is attached to the company.  Bose, Sony, and SkullCandy have neither of these.  Their headphones come in very dull colors such as gray, black, and navy blue.  Their headphones are also seen as clunky with less style.  Beats was the first audio product company to use the world of sports as a major market.  They have recently used soccer and rugby athletes from Europe to market Beats in the continent.  Currently, Beats is the number one selling headphone in Europe.  The global wireless earphone and headphone market is growing rapidly.  As a result of Beats being owned by Apple, Beats are slightly easier to connect to iPhones than other headphone brands.  In addition, Apple launches a back to school promotion during the end of summer where students, teachers, and college employees are able to buy a new Mac laptop and receive a pair of Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones.  More and more teenagers and college students are wearing Beats headphones compared to Bose, Sony, and SkullCandy as a result of this promotion.  Other headphone companies such as Bose and Sony have used the world of sports and athletes to advertise earphones solely designed for working out while using models and other celebrities to advertise their headphones.  Beats on the other hand, has dared to use the world of sports to advertise headphones that cannot be used when running or actually playing a sport.  But they consider their headphones to be the official pregame headphones of athletes everywhere.  The purpose of Beats headphones in sports ads is to be used in the locker room or on the ride to games to mentally prepare athletes.

The ad above is a social media advertisement campaign by Beats that I personally made with a picture of myself and my current home city.  In the summer of 2015, Universal Pictures partnered with Beats by Dre to promote their new movie “Straight Outta Compton”, the biographical movie of Beats founder Dr. Dre.  What Beats realized is that this isn't just about Compton, everyone is proud of where they're from.  Beats then launched an integrative campaign celebrating every city in the world because we are all straight outta somewhere.  #StraightOutta became a universal statement for everyone to represent their city.  People could create their own custom memes to represent their own hometowns by simply typing in their city name and uploading an image.  Beats created a meme taking the iconic logo that came from the movie “Straight Outta Compton” and gave that logo to their consumers and let them use it on their own.  Across the world, people were creating their own #StraightOutta memes.  The world's biggest celebrities joined in without receiving any endorsement money from beats.  In less than 24 hrs, it became the number 1 trending topic on instagram, twitter, and facebook.  No other brand in history has ever achieved this.  Other brands were unable to ignore the success and got involved such as Snickers Candy Bars posting a meme titled “Straight Outta Hunger”.  Even President Obama created his own meme stating Iran will be “Straight Outta Uranium”   In the end, it not only became beats biggest campaign ever, but the biggest social campaign in 2015.  8 million downloaded pics, 700,000 shares from the site, and 270,000 #StraightOutta posts on all top 3 major social media platforms.  In this campaign, Beats is targeting people of all genders and races ages 15-50 around the world who actively use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  These people have an average to above average household income because they must have a computer or smartphone to access social media.  Any city around the world can be typed into this meme.  The fact that this is completely customizable is very appealing to people on social media because they can input their own picture and city.  The Beats logo is then placed automatically at the bottom on every meme so that is the last thing people's eyes see when they turn away from the picture.  This campaign is advertising both the Beats brand and the movie “Straight Outta Compton”.  Whether or not people know about the Beats brand, Beats gave people a tool to tell their story and even gave an incentive for people to learn more about the Beats brand by using the meme.  

In 2014, Beats created the “Hear What You Want” campaign.  This print ad above advertises the Beats Studio Wireless headphones with adaptive noise cancelling.  This ad has appeared in various magazines ranging from Sports Illustrated to GQ.  The main message of this ad is that these headphones block out distractions and help athletes “hear what they want” so they can get in the zone to stay focused and dominate in their sport.  Whether it be a favorite song or complete silence, Beats Studio Wireless headphones allow athletes to “hear what they want”.  This particular advertisement shows former professional basketball player Kevin Garnett, who was playing for the Brooklyn Nets at the time.  He is making his way into the locker room of an away team's arena.  You can see in the background press taking pictures and opposing fans being extremely rowdy and yelling at him.  The only thing that separates him from this chaos is a metal barrier.  Beats shows the style aspect of their headphones by having Garnett wear a pair of matte gray Beats Studio Wireless Headphones, which matches with his black suit and gray plaid scarf.  This amount of pressure would be overwhelming for some, but for Kevin Garnett, he looks calm, cool, and collected.  It's as if the the opposing fans and press aren't even there.  That is exactly the message that Beats is attempting to place in the minds of its buyers.  These headphones will block out any distraction imaginable and will help athletes listen to music or silence that keeps them calm and focused so they can perform to the greatest of their abilities.  This particular ad is aimed mainly towards both male and female athletes 16-35 years of age who play high school, college, or professional sports, and whose parent's household income or their own household income is above average around $80,000 per year or more because these headphones cost around $350.00.  The secondary target can be aimed towards everyday people ages 16-40 years old including employees of companies, and college or high school students who need to block out any inhibiting distractions so they can focus on what needs to be done.  Headphones suit people who work and live in urban centers that have to take public transportation because they are able to ignore any distractions around them when walking through the city or riding the subway.   This ad has appeared in various magazines such as Sports Illustrated and GQ.  “Hear What You Want” ads using sports stars from European soccer clubs have appeared all across Europe and Asia.  Other headphone companies such as Bose and Sony have used the world of sports and athletes to advertise earphones solely designed for working out while using models and other celebrities to advertise their headphones.  Beats on the other hand, has dared to use the world of sports to advertise headphones that cannot be used when running or actually playing a sport.  But they consider their headphones to be the official pregame headphones of athletes everywhere.  The purpose of these headphones is to be used in the locker room or on the ride to games to mentally prepare athletes.

In the link above, Beats produced a commercial titled “Got No Strings”.  This commercial promotes their 3rd generation line of wireless earphones and headphones.  Beats uses the song “I've Got No Strings” from Disney's movie “Pinocchio” to emphasize the fact that these headphones have no wires.  You see stars and athletes such as DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, and Michael Phelps lip synching to the song which presents a fun and lively tone to the company by using a popular Disney song that resonates with all ages.  Beats was able to tailor this advertisement so it could resonate to everyone: a dad taking care of a baby, watering plants, working out, traveling, and walking around town.  These scenes create a real connection with the consumers because everybody can relate to one or more of these various scenes in their own lives.  This shows that everyone can use Beats to make even the little things in life more fun.  Beats target audience with this commercial targets everyday people across a variety of ages.  The core message of this commercial is that wireless headphones make any task life throws at you easier without any cords to worry about.   

I believe that the social media ad is considered an extremely good and effective advertisement.  Beats emphasizes the fact that we are all straight out of somewhere and created a meme that consumers can personalize to show where they are from.  This ad illustrates the broad global culture encompassed within the movie “Straight Outta Compton” with a simple yet effective idea of creating a meme that gives people a way to represent their city on their profiles all across social media, helping to promote the Beats brand worldwide.  To improve this social media ad, I would put the Beats wording below the logo.  This meme gained major popularity and was even being used by people who may not own a pair of headphones or are not knowledgeable about Beats.  As a result, these people need to know what that “b” stands for in order for them to be persuaded to research more into the company.  There is also no product being shown in the ad for people to understand what Beats is for consumers.  That is not necessarily what Beats is advertising with this campaign.  They are advertising their brand as a whole by showing that they are a global company that is made up of all different cultures and backgrounds.  

I would consider the print ad to be an example of a good advertisement but lacks some components that are required of a well structured ad.  The ad includes a very eye catching headline “Hear What You Want”, with the athlete's name from the advertisement on top of the headline.  In addition, there is a large visual that takes up the space of the entire ad.  This visual truly grasps consumers by portraying an extremely rowdy scene that appears to only be calmed down by using Beats headphones to block out the hate from the press and opposing fans.  You can see in the ad how focused and unphased Kevin Garnett looks.  There is a body copy that simply reads “Introducing Studio Wireless with Adaptive Noise Cancelling” so the consumer knows what Beats is advertising.  Consequently, there is no call to action or place to get more information.  Beats wants its consumers to interpret the ad for themselves and want them to realize that buying these headphones will displace all distractions as shown by the visual.  The Beats logo is then put below the body copy so that it is the last thing that leaves the viewer's mind.  On the other hand, people who do not know the Beats logo will have no idea where to buy the headphones.  If I were to remake this ad, I would add more body copy explaining how “The New Beats Studio Wireless Headphones contain adaptive noise cancelling to block out any distractions so you can focus on doing exactly what your trained to do, WIN”.  In addition, I would add the Beats website at the bottom of the ad for consumers to know where to visit to buy a pair.  They make their product look appealing and have put forth an advertisements that creates a real connection between the product and consumer that gives people not just a want but a need to buy their product.  The ad is also in a very realistic setting, making it look like Kevin Garnett did not even need to act.  Beats has pioneered a new way of advertising through the “Hear What You Want” campaign that has created a culture that consistently keeps athletes and consumers worldwide using Beats by Dre.  

I believe that the Beats commercial ad was an exceptional example of great advertising.  This was ultimately very effective in capturing consumers because it used a song that resonates with people of all ages.  They used stars and athletes more notably known by their primary target of consumers, which are teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s.  The core message that Beats is trying to convey is that wireless headphones make any task life throws at you easier and more enjoyable without any cords to worry about.  Everybody is smiling and in a very good mood throughout the commercial.  They also put their product in every shot of the commercial making it very well structured.  The logo appears at the beginning of the commercial and their wireless products appear at the end.  There is not one moment where you do not see a pair of headphones or earphones.  It seems as if life cannot be as enjoyable and lively if you do not own a pair of Beats.  One thing I would change about this ad is at the end when it shows the various wireless headphones and earphones Beats produces.  For about 20 seconds at the end of the commercial, Beats displays its 3rd generation line of wireless headphones and earphones with little background music or energy.  I would have put all three products into one scene lasting about 5 seconds with the same volume of music playing throughout the whole ad.  By putting aside 20 seconds to show only pictures of the products at the end of the commercial, viewers may lose the interest and excitement they gained throughout the first part of the commercial.  This commercial was advertised all across national TV in the United States but could have also been advertised in Europe, Asia, and South America.  Many of the athletes, movie stars, and singers in the commercial are globally known.



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