Remember that epic World Cup-inspired Beats By Dre commercial that featured Neymar and LeBron James and spawned a new Jigga track? Well despite Beats’ video being viewed millions of times, those featured World Cup athletes can’t actually wear their preferred listening hardware while warming up.
Why? *flashes Johnny Football money sign*
…FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take [their Beats] off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events.
Marketing experts say that probably only amplifies their appeal.
“When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip a sponsored beverage,” said strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, a former Apple and Google executive.
“Maybe more, actually – Beats isn’t a sponsor, so the message is more authentic and credible.”
As always, FIFA is about the bottom line, first and foremost. Not that Beats are the best headphones that the free market has to offer. But the company’s been savvy with its advertising reach in the past. As the Reuters article notes, the company got around licensing restrictions at the 2012 Olympics, whose electronics sponsor was Panasonic, by sending various delegations headphones to use before the events started.
But this isn’t the first time FIFA’s forced its partners onto others–only the most recent. FIFA’s partnering with Budweiser influenced Brazil to lift its ban on beer sales in stadiums, which combatted the drinking-induced violence between fans that sometimes occurred.
So a headphone ban? Just chalk it up to more FIFA absurdity.