If there’s one company who almost always gets scrutinized around the web about how much they spend on celebrities to promote their products, Beats by Dre is the guilty suspect.
From Lady Gaga to LeBron James, the brand knew too well who they should put on the frontline to influence the market. On its first decade in, we’ve already seen a legion of famous people starring in collaborations, commercials, and campaigns. And they are just too many to remember.
In celebration of the brand’s 10th-year milestone, we’ve broken down a list of the best collaborations and celebrity-endorsed Beats headphones so far:
- Endorsed Headphones: Beats Studio 3 Wireless
In 2008, Beats by Dre initially partnered with Monster Cable to manufacture the brand’s first-ever pair of headphones called Monster Beats Studio. Three-time NBA champion LeBron James is one of the headphones’ endorsers and had his exclusive custom pair called “Red 23” to reference his jersey number.
The $400 cans were hyped to have precise highs and mids on top of a deep, distortion-free bass and “a sonic performance that’s unequaled” in any other headphones. Soon enough, Beats had started to draw flak owing to its “signature bass” which the industry pundits deemed exaggerated.
Despite that, Beats made a lot more noise after it cast James in one of its inaugural publicity stunts in December 2008 where he surprised all his teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers with a pair of his custom Monster Beats Studio headphones. A similar gesture took place in October 2016 for the Cleveland Indians to show his support.
Ever since the basketball superstar has appeared numerous times in Beats commercials year after year. Most recently, James appeared in the “Made Defiant” commercial for the Decade Collection where he wore a pair of Beats Studio 3 headphones. The campaign also starred NBA powerhouses, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
The Decade Collection celebrates the brand’s first 10 years and it takes you back to the original Beats headphones which have slightly different colorway.
Rapper and record producer DJ Khaled is no stranger to collaborations with Beats. His custom Beats Pro headphones made their first public appearance via Instagram in June 2017, around the same time his “Grateful” studio album was released.
The stripped Beats Pro was constructed mostly of aluminum with massive ear cups that will enclose the entirety of your ears which makes for an intuitive noise-canceling effect. Built for professionals, the cans are pretty impressive when it comes to sound performance, boasting tight and textured bass, warm or neutral midrange frequencies, smooth treble, and deep soundstage.
According to the “We The Best” mogul, he personally had a hand in the design of his limited-edition custom headphones which he called the “Grateful Beats”. The first Monster Beats Pro has been around since October 2010 and were later rebranded as just Beats Pro after the company and Monster Cable parted ways in December 2012.
UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor was signed on as an official Beats athlete months before his historical fight with boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in August 2017.
In usual Beats demeanor, the brand jumped on the opportunity to become an official sponsor of the Irish fighter, releasing his limited-edition custom Studio Wireless headphones which he called “The Notorious” after his moniker.
While wired headphones usually have better sound quality, Beats Studio Wireless is surprisingly known to have a better performance compared to its wired counterpart. Thanks to the Beats Acoustic Engine, it retains the emotional experience of sound. Overall, it has pretty decent trebles and vocals while mids could be better.
Other than Beats Studio Wireless, McGregor has a few other Beats endorsements under his belt, including the “#AboveTheNoise” and “Be Heard” campaigns. In his solo ad titled “Dedicated” where he sported a pair of Studio 3 Wireless, he showed his humble beginnings back in Dublin and his ascent to the pinnacle as an MMA legend.
Travis Scott’s relationship with Beats by Dre dates back to 2015 when he was still an up-and-coming rapper. Many thanks to his good taste in music, Scott scored a deal with the brand and became the face of the UNDFTD x Beats by Dre collab for Powerbeats 2, the Beats headphones designed for fitness fanatics.
Powerbeats 2 falls flat in mids and high but delivers a decent job when it comes to bass, enough to pump up your workout routines. Add to that the sweat and water-proofing of the set.
In his ad for UNDFTD, Scott takes you through the process of how he came up with his song “Never Catch Me” — from the drafting stage to recording it in the studio. He had appeared in numerous Beats commercials since.
Before even winning a total of 23 Olympic gold medals throughout his career, Beats knew Michael Phelps is a force to reckon with. And looking at his outstanding resume, it comes as no surprise that the most decorated Olympian in history will be one of the frequent faces of the brand.
During the 2016 Rio Olympics, Phelps got his own black-and-gold custom Studio Wireless headphones with his signature on them. Unfortunately, Phelps was forced to hide the Beats logos under tapes because — in case you may not know — Beats was banned from the Olympics.
Just a quick backgrounder: Beats’ first-ever massive marketing blunder dates back to the 2012 London Olympics. Days before the event’s opening day, the company sent boxes of British flag-inspired Beats headphones to Great Britain’s delegates. This forced the British Olympic Association to ban the headphones soon after Olympians started wearing them.
Among other commercials, Phelps notably appeared on the “Got No Strings” ad in 2017 sharing the screen with his first-born Boomer, and his Icon Collection ad in 2017 where he endorsed Beats Solo 3 headphones.
At the height of Nicki Minaj’s career, Beats by Dre was able to bank on the 10-time Grammy nominee’s popularity. She booked her first major endorsement deal with Beats for the Pill speaker in 2013. The product’s success was highly attributed to Minaj, alongside fellow artists Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke.
Following her socko promotion, the female rapper scored more appearances on Beats commercials. Her last stint was the “Got No Strings” commercial in 2016 which featured not two, not three, but 19 endorsers, including Pinocchio. That ad should go down in history for featuring the most number of celebrities in a single commercial.
At the core of the “Got No Strings” campaign are Beats X, Beats Solo 3, and Powerbeats 3 to promote wireless living. The all-star cast top-billing the commercial included DJ Khaled, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Karlie Kloss, Amber Rose, Michael Phelps, Ben Simmons, William Chen, Juno Temple, and many others.
Back in 2012, Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne made headlines after he sported a $1 million diamond-encrusted Beats headphones at an NBA All-Star game. It was so dazzling that no one seemed to notice Drake was sitting beside him. Ultimately, it was one brilliant marketing tactic to promote its partnership with British jeweler Graff Diamonds.
The publicity stunt and his relationship with Beats flourished so well that the company threw a VMA after party that same year. The cherry on top? To promote his custom Beats Pro headphones. Shortly after that, he joined will.i.am, 2 Chainz, Zedd, and many others in a star-studded “All Eyes on Us” commercial.
On the verge of her pregnancy rumors last year, reality star Kylie Jenner came out in public to promote the Balmain x Beats by Dre collaboration. Jenner rocked the gorgeous pairs of Studio Wireless and Powerbeats 3 headphones in safari green and khaki gold colors.
That collection was only made available at Harrods and Balmain London, and just like anything that has Jenner’s influence on it, the special edition collection got sold out very early. You can opt to buy the regular Beats Studio Wireless – Gold instead.
Remember those times when Lady Gaga was still notoriously rocking meat outfit and other outrageous ensembles? That, her good music, and the noise she made benefited Beats by a large scale.
When the pop singer burst onto the scene in 2009, the headphone maker saw that as an opportunity to put its name on the map further and so the Monster Heartbeats headphones were conceived. Lady Gaga’s influence was too significant that it paved the way for the brand to become a fashion staple as it is today.
From concerts to music videos to radio interviews to day-to-day errands, Gaga stuck to the brand and endorsed various Beats headphones until she lied low over the past few years.
While Neymar Jr. has been part of the Beats by Dre family since 2013, it was only in August 2017 before the El Classico match in Miami that he got his own custom headphones from the brand, a pair of Beats Studio Wireless. The headphones were inspired by his first signature edition “Written in the Stars” Nike Mercurial Vapor shoes.
The 26-year-old Brazilian footballer debuted his Beats’ commercial appearance on its 2013 World Cup campaign “The Game Before the Game”. When he joined the 2016 Summer Olympics in his home turf, Neymar also got his Brazil-inspired custom Beats Studio Wireless.
Before the 2018 World Cup commenced in June, Beats by Dre released a Made Defiant commercial for the Decade Collection starring Neymar alongside top footballers like Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil, and Benjamin Mendy.
Brand recognition — regardless it being positive or negative — has been at the core of Beats’ triumph. And so far, there are no signs of the multi-billion-dollar company veering away from using celebrities.
This list is only a tip of an iceberg. We will see more popular personalities joining the Beats army soon. That’s for sure!
Who made a mark among these endorsers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!