Beats Electronics has introduced its push for the World Cup -- and it includes a plug for Apple, which is planning to buy the company for $3 billion. In the five-minute clip, created by R/GA, soccer player Neymar Jr. is given a pep talk before the start of a big game and asked to "run like it's the last day of your life." He's wearing his headphones, and the pep talk is interspersed with gorgeous aerial shots of Brazil, as well as scenes of a team bus arriving at a stadium, welcomed by fans and security.
Throughout, the player wears his Beats headphones, connected to a gold iPhone 5S (there's even a clear shot of the Apple logo). Then, the music begins. Backed by "The Jungle," by X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons, the five-minute film features big football names like Bacary Sagna, Bastian Schewinsteiger, Blaise Matuidi and Robin van Persie. Along with them are shots of Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams, Thierry Henry and others, all preparing to support their teams -- with cues from the right color nail polish and underwear to a soccer-ball necklace on a thick chain. As Neymar Jr. gets ready for the game, he leaves behind his headphones, connected (symbolically and tangibly way to the Apple iPhone.
Beats, not an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, doesn't mention the event by name.
Omar Johnson, Beats chief marketing officer, revealed the video at an event on Wednesday evening. "We decided to do something that only Beats could do," he said. Each pre-game ritual captured in the ad is authentic, he noted. "It's all real. Nothing is make-believe."
The star-studded spot is certainly more Beats in flavor than Apple. After the ad screened, Mr. Johnson was joined on stage by ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman and Mr. Henry.
Among the celebrities to make a cameo in the film is LeBron James, a Samsung endorser. "He heard about the commercial; he wanted to be in it," Mr. Johnson said of the NBA star, who once appeared in an ad panning Apple products.
Later, when asked by Ad Age, Mr. Johnson suggested Beats would not turn down future appearances from Samsung's celebrity salesman. "He's going to be all over the place," said Mr. Johnson.
"He's part of the Beats family," a company spokeswoman added.
The company made no mention of Apple at the event.