2018 marked a huge milestone for Beats by Dr. Dre — it was the brash young company’s 10-year anniversary. Months of work went into planning the year’s worth of celebration. It was an awesome experience being a freelancer with the in-house creative team and seeing different departments collaborate to make so much magic happen.
The keystone of the anniversary was launching the Beats Decade Collection, featuring five products in a new Defiant Black-Red colorway (a nod to the company’s early days and flagship brand colors).
It was a big campaign with lots of players contributing. Very fun to be there for the ride and play a supporting role.
I was lucky to write the new brand line — “Since Day One it’s been all about the sound.” — which appears on all future product packaging and some other places (see one of the videos below for a cameo).
I also got to help name the Decade Collection and launch the digital experience telling the story of its products;
created part of an international pop-up experience timed for the World Cup;
helped craft the seeding experience for NBA players and World Cup teams;
and wrote the campaign manifesto and some of the MADE DEFIANT campaign videos featuring superstars of world football, NBA All-Stars, and even the captain and MVP of the 2018 Stanley Cup champions. (A ton of these were produced, and I wrote a few. AKQA along with the fantastic editing team at Beats made many more.)
Below are some of the pieces I was lucky to help write.
For all the MADE DEFIANT videos Beats released, our creative director had envisioned how the campaign would look: the defiant band of light and the striking red environments (all shot in-camera). But what would we say? I had written the manifesto, but before the first athlete shoot, we were uncertain whether our prepared scripts would be best or if another direction might be better.
The final direction didn’t rely on voice-over but was largely copy-driven, and started from a deep insight into one of the athletes I discovered doing research while writing. This insight determined the tenor of the entire campaign — for each athlete, we would laser in on that superstar’s personal inner struggle.
After the first shoot, we hashed out the final story template, which set the tone for all the videos to come: each begins with athlete-specific criticism from the press, then leads to an athlete-specific copy line expressing defiance along with that ray of light, and resolves in the campaign’s MADE DEFIANT hero.
Beats set up a display featuring the 10 custom headphones seeded to select teams in the 2018 World Cup. Each edition featured colors from that country’s kit, with each earcup emblazoned with a big “X” as a tribute to the brand’s bold gate-crashing history.
The X’s on these headphones signify more than our 10th anniversary.
They’re a tribute to the world’s top athletes who’ve X-ed out our logo because they’d never lose their connection to music before heading into battle.
Because to change the game, you have to do what others won’t.
The custom team headphones seen above were carefully packaged and seeded to all players of 10 select teams, each with its own special insert card.