Live, On-Air QB Prospect Product Placement Sees Beats Ambush NFL Draft

Beats Mariota 1Beats Mariota 2Marcus Mariota, Alana Deppe-Mariota

After fronting a new Beats by Dre spot that launched on YouTube the day before the 2015 NFL Draft, No.2 pick Marcus Mariota conspicuously wore of set of Beats headphones during the Draft itself as he waited for his name to be called from his home state in Hawaii.


The quarterback, who, like Number One Pick Jameis Winston (who also prominently wore a pair of Beats while waiting for his name to be called), declined to attend the NFL’s live Draft event in Chicago and watched it from home surrounded by friends and family (and TV cameras) was wearing the headset as he got the call from the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.


In fact, the former University Of Oregon star appeared to be deliberately fiddled with the Beats phones at the moment he was chosen ensuring the highest profile possible for this act of live guerilla product placement aired by ESPN and the NFL Network.


The YouTube ad, backed by a soulful acoustic track called ‘River’ by Leon Bridges, features Mariota staring out at the ocean, running on the beach and working out in the gym at his old high school in Honolulu – all wearing a set of  white, wireless Powerbeats2.



Leveraging the limelight of the Draft, Beats rolled out the Mariota-led video just before the 2015 Draft began in a top-of-the-home-page banner advertisement – with shopping link – on show broadcaster’s site.


It also pushed the commercial through its social channels such as Twitter.




In fact Beats tweeted images of several other draft prospects wearing its products as they waited anxiously to see if an NFL franchise would offer them a contract.





As a prospect (even as the No.2 Draft Pick), Mariota has yet to actually sign his NFL contract and thus he is able to partner with Beats if he chooses.


But as soon as he puts pen to paper on his Tennessee Titans deal he will have to make sure the Beats are nowhere to be seen when he is front of a camera on game day.


After all, the NFL has taken serious steps in recent months to protect its deal with partner (and Beats rival) Bose.


While NFL players are allowed to have Beats endorsement contracts (indeed, Beats has a stable of NFL star ambassadors and other high profile athletes), the NFl has come down heavy on those breaking its rules about not wearing or carrying Beats on match day, in or around any NFL stadiums or facilities.


‘Players are aware of the league restrictions policy on public display of Beats or other items of non-sponsor,’ comments NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy.


‘It’s reiterated throughout the year, at the beginning of the season, and that’s nothing new,” he said.




Ambush is an often overused word in the world of sponsorship, but, official athlete endorsement deal or not, this activation is an archetypical old-school ambush.


The online video certainly gained some reasonable traction as it racked up nearly half a million YouTube views in its first 24 hours.


It seems slightly odd to run an ad themed about upbringing, character and values as an outright, deliberate and controversial ambush.


Is it entirely sensible for Mariota want to start his NFL career by straining his relationship with the league, or should sponsors see this as merely a sensible, straightforward, uncontroversial deal?


We doubt the NFL will take this latter view.


After all, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, one of the slew of NFL athletes who is a Beats endorser, was fined $10,000 by the league for wearing a pink pair for breast cancer awareness at a press conference in October.


Following the fine, Kapernick covered the logo up with tape.



Last year, just one month after Beats by Dre announced it had been bought by Apple, the NFL signed a deal with Bose to become the league’s official headphones.




Beats By Dre YouTube


Beats By Dre Website:


Beats By Dre Twitter:


NFL Draft 2015




ESPN Website



Comments are closed.

Covid-19 > A Sports Marketer’s Guide

C-19 > A Sports Marketer's Guide

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)20 8144 5345

Mob: +44 (0)7818 416 572

Posted by j.edwards No Comments