While all eyes are on the World Cup matches, Beats by Dre has decided to cash in on the action by releasing their ad campaign, The Game Before the Game, just in time for the launch of Solo2, their best headphones to date.
The original ad is a lengthy 5-minute commercial showcasing pre game rituals of the players and their fans. Some fans get down on their knees and pray to god that their team will win. Others instill their faith in kissing good luck charms, as others paint their faces and shave their heads in celebration. The lead, Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. calls his father for a pep talk, which is how the commercial begins
His father is encouraging him to believe in himself, believe in God and run like he’s never ran before. He’s running for his family and for his friends. This soccer game is his one shot and his one opportunity. We can deduce that Neymar is probably the only person in his family who ever really made it big, which is a big deal in these parts of the world. So Neymar puts on his Beats and gets in the zone. Jungle is the powerful anthem for this ad and it drives his fathers point home. No matter where you come from, no matter how poor or how wealthy you are, once you enter “the jungle, there is no God on these streets.” Nothing can help you win the game except for talent, motivation and Beats by Dre.
Staying true to the culture is key in this campaign as it provides the feel of authenticity. As much as you try, you cannot glamorize the conditions of Brazil—or the conditions that some of these soccer players once lived in. In a country like Brazil, who can really afford expensive headphones?
Beat’s acknowledges that in their ad. When you see the players, they’ve “made it” and that’s why they can afford Beats. But the fans in Brazil don’t have Beats headphones. Those kids are trading cards, running barefoot through the streets because poverty is the real deal here. They’re setting up their satellite’s to get a clear picture of that day’s match and crowding together in their small living rooms, to watch as a family.
Hope is the underlying message in this, in order to persuade you. If Neymar, a young Brazilian player can make it, so can you. And that’s how they get you. They’re not actually hoping all the children of Brazil will buy Beats, but they want you to think, ‘Hey, I can totally afford these Beats, especially if they will help me become successful.”
This ad isn’t your average commercial—it is a full on action movie. Or rather, a call to action. A call to engage more American viewers into watching the World Cup and to persuade all soccer fans to invest in their own pair of Beats. The placement of celebrities like Jay-Z, who raps on the shortened one-minute version of the ad, Nicki Minaj, Shaq, and Lil Wayne only adds emphasis on the importance of appealing to the US Market. It’s no secret. Americans don’t really like soccer. In order to make their product appeal to Americans, they also need to make Americans care about soccer the way they care about basketball, hockey and the American football. If your favorite celebs are pumped for the World Cup, maybe it’s something you should be pumped for too. Beats is attempting to broaden the spectrum of fans from the world market to the US market. Celebrity endorsements go a long way when it comes to America.
Airing the ad during game five of the NBA finals, further reiterates the importance of persuading US sports fans to care about the World Cup. The length of the original clip makes it the perfect online short movie and you can bet everyone took five minutes out of his or her day to watch it. But the shortened clips are really the selling point, airing during different games all over the world—more than nine countries and in five different languages to be exact.
To take this a little further, the Jay-Z remix of Jungle, was only available exclusively to Beats Music subscribers during its first week of release. Obviously releasing something exclusively means attracting people to your product, as it’s the only place they’ll actually be able to get it. It’s brilliant!
After watching this campaign, I’d think the World Cup was being sponsored by Beats. But I know better. Now when I think about this year’s world cup, I will be humming Jungle, which in turn will make me think of their commercial. I guess that’s almost as successful as persuading me to buy their headphones. Which they didn’t and I won’t.