How Beats outsmarts Sony during the World Cup

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Many of the World Cup’s football stars, such as Neymar, Mario Götze, Cesc Fabregas, Luis Suarez, or Wayne Rooney are part of the highly successful Beats campaign which shows the players’ preparations before stepping onto the pitch. For all of you who have missed the advert ‘The Game Before The Game’, please click below:

Even though all featured players seem to have chosen Beats as their headphone supplier of choice, they are yet not allowed to wear these headphones when entering any of the twelve World Cup stadiums in Brazil. The FIFA has forbidden the use of Beats products during (media) events in its premises.

The reason behind is quite simple: Beats Electronics is not an official sponsor of the World Cup. Instead it is the company’s competitor in the headphone space – Sony.

However, this ruling of the FIFA somehow doesn’t seem to effect the appeal of Beats’ products which is particularly due to the company’s guerilla marketing tactics to bypass licensing barriers. Since many years the company of Dr. Dre is providing top athletes from a broad range of sports with complimentary headphones. For example, Beats sent in 2012 thousands of free products to high profile athletes of the Olympic Games in London, including  the U.S. basketball team and the entire British delegation. Beats thereby outsmarted official sponsor Panasonic.

For the World Cup 2014, Sony tried to copy Beats’ marketing strategy and sent complimentary headphones to all World Cup players in the hope that the likes of Neymar and Rooney would use their products. However, Dr. Dre’s company equipped as well a lot of players in the World Cup with its products and apparently Beats seems to outsmart again the official sponsor as the bulky headphones are a favourite for many of the world’s top players.

Even though it is, due to FIFA’s ban, rare to spot Beats headphones on FIFA premises, Sony’s hopes were not answered as it is also very unlikely to see players using Sony products in the stadiums. Most players are still using their favorite Beats products, especially in their leisure time. Such a behaviour ties in very well with Beats’ marketing strategy as “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,” highlighted strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, a former Apple and Google executive. Maybe more, the message  (players using voluntarily the products of a company which is not a sponsor) will appear even more credible than Sony’s paid endorsement.

References: Gizmodo, FAZ, Reuters

Picture: The Fashionisto

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