On the heels of an award-winning brand campaign more philosophical than most, Beats by Dre’s latest work from Translation takes a more product-focused approach. Or does it?
The celebrity-studded campaign “It’s the Music” launches Beats Studio Buds headphones. It eschews long-winded explanations of tech features, opting instead to highlight the connection between a single person and a single song.
Tennis star Serena Williams talks about the empowerment she feels when she listens to Kelly Rowland’s “Black Magic.” Comedian Druski admits his love of country music and “Forever After All” by Luke Combs.
Rounding out the initial trio of spots, rapper Roddy Ricch breaks down the artistry of Future’s “March Madness.” But nestled in each ad is a quick list of features like active noise cancellation and eight hours of battery life. They’re breezed by as if unimportant, as the celebs drive toward the song they’ve chosen to talk about.
“’It’s The Music’ is directly tied to a product launch, and we felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to make a societal statement with that goal in mind,” says Beats Chief Marketing Officer Chris Thorne, contrasting the campaign to “You Love Me.” “Instead we sought to capture the emotional experience of hearing a song that truly resonates with you, and makes you feel a certain type of way.”
In all, 12 celebs and influencers share their favorite songs, including footballer Marcus Rashford, gamer Sydeon, singer Coi Leray and freestyle skier Eileen Gu. “We wanted to widen the lens a bit from the prototypical athlete and artist that the brand would historically tap,” says Jason Campbell, executive creative director at Translation. “This wide breadth of talent and passion points also helped us drive home the fact that our love of music spans borders, industries, races and ages—no matter who you are or what you do for a living.”
Spots are shot in a multitude of styles that reflect the personality of their subject, as well as the genre and content of the song. But if a viewer isn’t already familiar with the featured celeb, they’d be hard pressed to figure out what they’re known for. That keeps the focus on—of course—the music.
“The famous faces in this campaign are being highlighted as fans first of other artists and creators, rather than showing off their own ‘famous’ skillsets—i.e., Serena is not shown wearing headphones and playing tennis, Coi Leray isn't in the studio rapping and Eileen Gu isn't on the slopes,” Campbell says. “Instead, we’ve placed music as the hero, by leveling everyone and focusing on the connectivity that music brings.”
The Druski spot, as well as one featuring Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, ran during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, and newly released spots will run on paid social, streaming media and partner channels.