Beats enlists Anthony Joshua, Kevin de Bruyne, Conor McGregor and more to quicken brand growth

It might be the world’s most recognisable headphone brand but Beats is on a mission to scale its business beyond America, enlisting some of the world’s most recognisable sports stars to front a global campaign.

From Manchester City’s rising star Kevin de Bruyne to UFC champion Conor McGregor, there’s a more global feel to this Anomaly-created campaign than previous efforts from the brand, which is working with 23 athletes across 11 different countries and 12 different sports. Such a spread of talent gives an indication of how Beats, which is a billion-dollar business, hopes to add the next billion over the years.

While it bears the cinematic flair of the brand’s previous ads, the tone of its latest creative is different as it focuses on the shared passion between athletes to be individuals in what they do. This is sealed with the ‘Be Heard’ strapline, which chimes with the ad’s use of The White Stripes tune ‘Seven Nation Army’, which has become an iconic anthem for athletes and fans alike.

It is the first global push from the brand since Jason White replaced Omar Johnson as its top marketer earlier this year. Having worked as one of Beats senior marketers since 2014, White has played a key role in shaping the Beats brand, which has repeatedly gone against the grain with a mix of ambush marketing, smart product placement and slick production.

Given that he ran Wieden & Kennedy’s Shanghai business, White will likely be called on to help Beats expand into the Asia, a region that has proved tricky for Western brands given the spread of fake products. Indeed, China is now the second largest market for Beats’ owner Apple, which is shifting its focus Eastward.

Time will tell how far he deviates from this method, though his predecessor outlined a roadmap for the brand last year that includes a sharper focus on content marketing as well as having a better clarity among women. What is unlikely to change is the brand’s ties to sports. White is a former Nike marketer, it will want to continue to strengthen those ties - which has seen seemingly every professional in every major sport event wearing the familiar Beats headphones.

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