Beats by Dre Reaches Out to Agencies

Search Overseen by Jason White, Whose Marketing Role Is Expanding

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Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Apple's Beats by Dre has reached out to agencies as it looks to expand, according to people familiar with the situation.

The headphones company, which was acquired by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion, has contacted a slew of agencies. According to people familiar with the matter, the move could result in a significant amount of work for one agency, or a few agencies could be tapped to handle various projects. Agencies could even be asked to supply ideas, but see another entity or Beats' internal team execute the work. One person said that the search is related to the company's intention to grow Beats, particularly internationally, though most, if not all, of the agencies contacted are U.S. based.

R/GA has been handling work for Beats since before it was acquired by Apple. The Interpublic shop is not involved with the agency search and is expected to continue to work with Beats by Dre, according to people familiar with the situation. Representatives for Beats and R/GA declined to comment.

The agency search is being overseen by Jason White, VP of marketing at Beats. People familiar with it said that Mr. White is taking on a larger role, though what that entails was not immediately clear. Mr. White joined Beats in May 2014, the month the Apple acquisition was announced. He previously worked at Wieden & Kennedy, where he had most recently been managing director of the Shanghai office. Before that he was global account director on the agency's all-important Nike account.

Omar Johnson, who has been Beats chief marketing officer since 2012, continues in that role, although his responsibilities are also expanding, according to executives familiar with the company. He will be more involved with Apple Music, the company's streaming service, while continuing to oversee Beats marketing. Apple Music was introduced in June 2015, replacing Beats Music.

The company has also recruited Paul Donaher, president at Laird & Partners, to serve in a senior marketing operations role.

Beats spent about $82 million in U.S. measured media in 2014, the last full year of available data, according to Kantar Media.

Contributing: Alexandra Bruell

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