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NFL “Beats” Rule

NFL Who cares…   Dr. Dre +10. 

CNBC aired an interesting article discussing the recent ban on NFL players wearing Beats by Dre headphones on game day. The NFL recently decided to start enforcing its on field advertising ban because of an agreement it signed with BOSE back in March. “Since this rule came into effect this past October players and fans have been outraged. More than 7,500 Tweets were launched at the NFL in the first 24 hours following suit after a similar organization the FIFA banned Beats during this summer’s World Cup” – cnbc.

Since then scotch tape sales have soared as players around the league cover up their iconic b logo to comply with the new rules. But how did Beats by Dre become the brand it is today? Beats by Dre is a pioneer in the advertising space. It was the first headphone company to partner with musicians and athletes around the premise of building a hip chic lifestyle brand. Even if the quality lacks as so many audiophiles complain, Beats has established its image as a luxury high end audio brand. Even more so, its managed to rip you off and convince you that a pair of low cost, China manufactured headphones, is worth the $300 price tag. You have Dr. Dre, Justin Bieber and Lady Gagga to thank for that.

How has it done that. Aside from controlling 64% of the headphone market over $100 (NPD Group), Beats engages consumers through relentless persuasive marketing campaigns. From inception, its strategy of promoting through record artists and prominent figures e.g. celebrities, athletes and the like, Beats has established its brand equity. And cemented its ability to demand Cadillac level prices for Chevy quality offerings. Beats should be if it already is a case study on persuasive style advertising. It exemplifies that one can sell junk (2-3 star sound according to CNET) if that junk is properly placed on the right people (product placement). In the long run, as more companies mimic this model (SOUL, BOSE etc.) it will be interesting to see if Apple can execute and continue to grow brand equity. Its safe to say BOSE won’t roll over and die any time soon and they have pivoted and started the adapt the same persuasive advertising as the industry leader. Maybe Bertrand will be right all along? TBD.


  1. deplautt deplautt

    What is interesting is that by the NFL banning Beats by Dre they are essentially providing free advertising for the company and the Beats by Dre could not be happier. Players are not running out to buy Bose headphones, rather, they have responded by putting tape over the Beats logo while continuing to wear them. This is not fooling anyone as the headphones themselves are pretty recognizable. Overall, It may have been in Bose’s best interest for the NFL to keep quiet about the headphones and keep Beats out of the press.

  2. strauss strauss

    I agree with Liz that the NFL’s decision seems to be hurting Bose in the short run, but perhaps Bose plans on using a similar advertising strategy and sponsor celebs such as NFL players. In that case, it may be worth it to suffer short term losses by giving Beats some press (but at the same time give themselves press) and increase marketing of its own product in the long run. Then again, as an avid NFL fan I wonder how many of us actually notice what the players are wearing on Sunday’s, and for now it seems like a mistake to ban the brand.

  3. If you’re on a football field, even good ‘phones aren’t going to overcome the ambient noise. So then purchase to make a style statement, “hey, I like music enough to …”

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