Beats has just rolled out a cinematic, 5-minute ad in celebration of the upcoming World Cup. It doesn't share the same uncanny timing as the Super Bowl XLVIII Richard Sherman spot, but if you're looking for a perfect showcase of just how culturally powerful the Beats brand has become, this is it. This is what Apple is spending $3 billion on.
The iPhone 5S appears several times through the course of the ad, which follows soccer player Neymar Jr. as he prepares to step under the world's spotlight. "Run like it's the last day of your life," he's told. "Run like you're a crazy man chasing happiness." Several other players are also shown carrying out their pre-game rituals, and the ad perfectly bottles up the fanaticism that surrounds the World Cup — all without ever mentioning it by name. (Beats is not among FIFA's official sponsors or partners.) But there are a few un-Apple elements to the spot. Most obvious is the dose of sex injected around the three-minute mark; that's not a creative decision you'd ever see from Cupertino.
And since it's a Beats ad, celebrities are everywhere. You'll see appearances from Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams, and Stuart Scott, among others. Oh, and LeBron James too. In fact, Ad Age reports that James approached Beats about participating because he wanted to be in the commercial. The world's best basketball player refused to miss out on a Beats cameo. That says everything. "He's going to be all over the place," a spokesperson told Ad Age. "He's a member of the Beats family." If that's the case, one must wonder how Samsung feels about this relationship. Within just a few months, King James and Beats will be part of Apple's extended family.