According to the latest media reports, headphone juggernaut Beats Electronics has stolen the thunder from Japanese giant Sony, despite an official FIFA ban on all Beats-manufactured products.
One week before the FIFA World Cup kicked-off in Brazil, the California-based brand released a five-minute commercial titled ‘The Game Before the Game’, which showed some of the World’s best players including Neymar and Luis Suarez prepare for the World’s biggest sporting event (while listening to music on their Beats).
And even though the commercial was very well-received and is probably one of the best centered on the World Cup, Beats by Dre headphones are actually banned from the tournament thanks to FIFA’s exclusive licensing agreement with Sony. According to the terms of agreement, all players partaking in this year’s World Cup are prohibited from wearing Beats by Dre headphones inside the stadiums or to any media-related events.
The trouble is though; players have been seen sporting the flash Beats headphones almost EVERYWHERE else… Despite the fact that Sony has distributed free headphones to every athlete partaking in this year’s tournament, some of footballs’ greatest have been spotted wearing Beats headphones at team practice sessions, getting-off busses, heading into hotels, etc.
And it appears the FIFA ban has only added to their appeal-factor.
“When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas [shoes] or sip a sponsored beverage,” said Marketing Strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, in an interview with Reuters.
“Maybe more, actually – Beats isn’t a sponsor, so the message is more authentic and credible.”
Acquired by tech-giant Apple for a staggering $3 billion, Beats Electronics is known for employing guerrilla marketing tactics to bypass licensing barriers. At the London Olympics in 2012, the brand sent thousands of free headphones to high-profile athletes, sidestepping official sponsor Panasonic.