Beats Banned at the World Cup After Players Snub Sponsor Sony


Before the World Cup got underway, Beats by Dre said it wasn’t aiming to be the ambush marketer it had been in previous events, like when it caused quite the stir at the 2012 London Olympics.  

But Beats couldn’t stay out of the spotlight for long. Without much effort on its part, players from nearly every team at the Cup have been seen wearing the headphones in and around the World Cup venues, despite the fact that Sony, the official FIFA and World Cup sponsor, gifted all 736 players a set of its own high-tech headphones to wear whenever they pleased. This week, FIFA moved to actually ban Beats products from the field and at media events.

The move is similar to rumors that circulated during the Sochi Olympics about Samsung, the official sponsor, complaining that athletes were walking around displaying their Apple iPhones. Though Samsung denied that it demanded that the IOC’s brand police make sure Apple logos were covered up, Olympic representatives were captured literally taping over Apple logos around the events.[more]

But for Sony and Samsung, the damage is already done. “When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip a sponsored beverage,” strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, a former Apple and Google executive, told Reuters. “Maybe more, actually—Beats isn’t a sponsor, so the message is more authentic and credible.”

For Beats, the (good) hits just keep on coming. After its long-form, soccer-themed ad garnered over 15 million views in less than two weeks, the brand decided to remix the viral ad with help from superstar JayZ. The new version is exclusively available on Beats Music for the next week. 

More World Cup News:

Dish scored a major hit with its recent World Cup-themed ad, earning 100 million impressions over two days with an ad that was originally designed for Hispanic markets, Adweek reports.

Nike continues to score with its #RiskEverything series of soccer-themed ads. Its long-form, animated hit “The Last Game” now has over 48 million views on YouTube. 

Durex condoms pokes fun at soccer stars’ well-documented on-field acting with its #DontFakeIt ad, while fellow condom maker Karex is making bank in Brazil with green and gold condoms that taste like the country’s signature cocktail, the Caipirinha.

– Former NFL football player Terry Crews warmed up his vocal cords for a wacky commercial for Old Spice, which just happens to be introducing its product to Brazil this month.

Lego is getting a whole bunch of free love again this World Cup as the team from The Guardian is re-creating great moments from the games in Brazil “brick by brick.”

• Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markjmill


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