Beats Epic ‘Game Before The Game’ Ambushes World Cup

A powerful World Cup ambush campaign for Beats by Dr Dre based on pre-game player/fan rituals and fronted by Brazilian superstar Neymar is spearheaded by an epic five minute film called ‘The Game Before the Game’.


Developed with agency R/GA New York (plus Brewster Parsons and Sword Fight), the campaign revolves around pregame preparation in the form of player rituals and fan ceremonies from good luck charms and prayers, to lucky pants and, yes, finding strength in music.



In addition to the Brazilian player face of the World Cup, it also features the rituals of fellow soccer stars Bacary Sagna, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Blaise Matuidi, Cesc Fàbregas, Daniel Sturridge, Chicharito, Jozy Altidore, Luis Suárez, Mario Götze, and Robin van Persie.


There are also further special appearances from retired and non-footballing Beats ambassadors such as Neymar’s father, LeBron James, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rafaella Beckran, Rio Ferdinand, Serena Williams, Sydney Leroux, Stuart Scott, and Thierry Henry.


Despite its intensity, cinematic sweeper and refreshing lack of in-game football footage, the creative also includes a welcome dose of humour: from a split second orgasm shot, to a British woman’s 1966 tattoo.


The film is directed by photographer-turned-filmmaker Nabil Elderkin, with Danny Hiele working as director of photography, Beats director of marketing Omar Johnson was executive director, Diallo Marvel was creative director and it is produced by Ana Julfayan and Justin Benoliel.


Director Elderkin, who fittingly made his name shooting music videos for stars such as Kanye West, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj, says The Game Before The Game experience was markedly different.


‘A music video is generally shot over one or two days, maximum. The artist is confirmed for that day, and there’s a narrative planned for the shoot. I also can talk with the musicians about the videos to make sure we’re on the same page,’ he outlines.


‘With the Beats spot, we had to work around these athletes’ schedules, which can change daily as they have intense schedules during the season, especially leading up to the World Cup. I also hadn’t met them prior to the shoot.’


The film, which was shot and post-produced over six weeks, cleverly blends the personal intimacy and individually of player and fan rituals with sweeping epic shots of the host country and Rio itself in setting the scene for the World Cup and building anticipation and expectation.


The film’s emotive original music track ‘Jungle’ is by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors, while the original score is by Michael Einziger and Annmarie Simpson


The campaign premièred online on 5 June and will run on TV in more than nine countries and in five different languages.


In addition to the blockbuster central film, shorter, cut down versions of the core spot, highlighting market-specific star players, will run in local markets, while the film work is supported by online, on-the-ground and a set of dramatic, movie-style campaign posters.


The film drives fans online to the campaign’s digital hub at http://www.thegamebeforethegame.com.


Music, headphones and song streaming business Beats is capitalising on the global hype for the World Cup with a major online push. The Dr Dre fronted brand is pushing contextual video content featuring each of its 14 football ambassadors through Yahoo’s sports portal.


Exclusive videos featuring brand ambassadors Neymar, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez will appear throughout the site, which the media owner claims is the biggest sports hub in the world.


The wider push sees Beats pursue its biggest marketing campaign around the tournament to hit ambitious sales targets, particularly to support its expansion in Western Europe.


Beats, recently acquired by Apple, isn’t a World Cup sponsor and teams and players are actually banned from wearing its familiar chunky headphones within the vicinity of World Cup venues in order to protect the rights of official partner Sony.


(For Sony’s Brazil 2014 sponsorship activation see our case study).


Yet these tough legislative restrictions, of course, can’t stop Beats capturing a significant share of voice, fan headspace and website around FIFA’s tournament through this kind of epic film making and the accompanying advertising and PR push.


Nevertheless, Beats have said that it won’t run the same kind of mass awareness, on the ground guerrilla marketing programme that we saw at the London 2012 Olympic Games.


The Dr Dre led outfit says it will not flood the World Cup’s changing rooms and player walks from coach to stadium with its fashionable headgear as it did at the London Olympics where it gave away specialised headsets to competing athletes (including gold pairs for the US basketball team and Union Jack ones for the British athletes).




With 8.3 million YouTube Views in a week there is clearly a new kid on the block when it comes to blockbuster sports event films!


This brilliant movie sees Beats join the likes of Nike and Adidas in unveiling epic, cinematic commercials in the lead-up to the major global events.


Indeed, there a familiar Nike feel to the work.


Has Beats out-Niked Nike?


Of course, being a music company, Beats can make a marketing movie that has the feel and look of a giant music video.


Whilst sportswear brands like Adidas and Nike (plus other big property sponsors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola) have increasingly blending entertainment genres within their sports event marketing work, it is not surprising that the trend works the other way with music companies like Beats moving into the sports space.


Indeed, Beats and agency R/GA are building an impressive heritage in a short space of time as they have created some of the year’s best sports ads, with Kevin Garnett (4.5m YTVs),



Colin Kaepernick (4.2m YTVs),



and Richard Sherman (2.4m YTVs).





Beats The Game Before The Game YouTube



Beats The Game Before The Game Website



‘Jungle’ by X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons




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