American rapper Dr. Dre has managed to get his Beats headphones featured in the Olympics coverage, despite strict rules concerning marketing by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that forbids athletes involved in the London 2012 Games from taking part in personal marketing.
So how did the hip hop mogul manage to get his high-end designer headphones on sporting heads? By making use of a clever loophole. Namely, giving his boutique headphones away for nothing to athletes, thereby overcoming the strict Olympic guidelines concerning sponsorship.
Canadian website, Canoe reports that IOC has established strict rules that enables only companies who pay around $US 100 million each for four years of global rights to sponsor the Olympics, designed to prevent “ambush marketing” from unofficial sponsors to get free publicity by piggy-backing on the popularity of the Olympics.
Beats have come up with a cunning way around the sponsorship rules however. IOC officials noticed an increasing number of athletes from Britain, China, American and other nations appearing at events wearing Beats by Dr. Dre in their nation’s colours, which were supposedly being given away for free at a London club located near the Olympic Park in East London.
Designed as a ‘collection point’, the trendy club was sending invites to athletes from over 20 nations to let them know they could pick up a complimentary pair of headphones if they so desired.
The IOC has since come under attack from other athletes and teams saying that the sports body is not enforcing their marketing guidlines, but Mark Adams – a spokesman for the Olympics Commitee – says that technically Dr. Dre hasn’t breached their guidelines.
“We have to take a commonsense approach,” defended Adams. “There is a difference between someone using equipment with a logo and someone promoting the brand.”
The Dr. Dre campaign has worked two-fold in that many athletes have taken to social media to both big up their new pairs of patriotic headphones, while others have protested against the IOC’s Rule 40, which forbids competitors from mentioning their own sponsors during the Olympics and can lead to disqualification if breached.
The British Olympic Commitee were urged to issue a warning reminding athletes of “the importance of protecting our sponsors” after the goalkeeper for Britain’s Olympics football team, Jack Butland tweeted: “Loving my new GB Beats by Dre ‚TeamGB ‚Beats.” The offending tweet has since been removed.
It’s a devious strategy from the taste-making headphone makers, first established in 2006 by Dr. Dre along with business partner – music producer/record mogul – Jimmy Iovine, the brand is well-known for its signature headphone lines providing pricey, high-end cans with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Lady Gaga, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Justin Bieber – which have put them near the top of the audio accessory heap.
It’s not even the first time that they’ve tried to muscle in on Olympics sponsorhip, with E! Online pointing out that for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Dre gave basketballer LeBron James a pair of headphones, along with distributing pairs to fellow US Men’s National Basketball Team members. James even went on to partner with Beats to produce his own line of headphones.
It seems that the IOC’s hands are tied over Dre’s tactics at doling out complimentary pairs, though the rapper was not available for comment, we’re pretty confident he’d pass it off as ‘Nuthin’ But A ‘B’ Thang’.