How Beats is Challenging the Status Quo & Amplifying Black Culture

Influencer Marketing
YouTube
Instagram
June 10, 2021
Consumer Electronics

Key Takeaways

In 2020, Beats by Dre had a brand reset where they identified three core values to become a challenger brand in the industry: challenge the status quo, amplify Black culture in the community and inspire youth by being relevant to the culture of today. The brand aims to become a challenger brand through implementing the following tactics:

  1. YouTube Advertising: Since November 2020, Beats launched two major YouTube advertising campaigns about racial injustice called “Flex That” ($260K ad spend) and “You Love Me” ($578K ad spend). The “Flex That” campaign featured professional tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is seen with “Silence is Violence” beaded into her hair. The video aims to inspire youth to challenge the norms and take a stand against racial inequality. The “You Love Me” campaign asks the audience “you love Black culture, but do you love me?” The film highlights the diversity of Black culture and is a love letter to the Black experience. 
  2. Community Initiatives: Beats launched a creative program called “Black Future Beats”: where they offer a 3 month paid internship to HBCU students. The official Beats YouTube channel features a playlist including all four short films that were directed by these students. 
  3. Content Amplifying Black Voices: Beats launched a YouTube series called “Informal” where they educate and discuss the implications of social injustice. The series has gained popularity amongst the brand’s target audience, generating 345K views on average per episode. Each episode, they cover a wide range of topics including police brutality, pressures of representation, feminism and the LGBTQIA+ community. 
  4. Organic Social Campaigns: For Black history month, Beats launched a social campaign on Instagram titled “Flowers for Black Women” celebrating strong Black female leaders. The brand partnered up with various micro influencers to talk about their experiences as Black women and when they feel the most seen. As part of the campaign, an IGTV series was launched where they featured each guest in the “Flowers For” campaign. 

In 2020, Beats by Dre had a brand reset where they identified three core values to become a challenger brand in the industry:

  1. Challenge the status quo.
  2. Amplify Black culture in the community
  3. Inspire youth by being relevant to the culture of today

Beats by Dre aims to become a challenger brand through the following tactics:

1. YouTube Advertising

Beats launched two major YouTube advertising campaigns about racial injustice (Flex That & You Love Me) since November 2020. Between November 2020 and January 2021, Beats saw a +1515% increase in ad spend when they launched the “You Love Me” and “Flex That” YouTube campaign as part of their mission to amplify Black culture.

The “Flex That” YouTube campaign featured professional tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is seen with “Silence is Violence” beaded into her hair. The main objective of the campaign is to take a stand against racial inequality while introducing their new Beats produced called Flex.

Campaign Results:

  • $260K ad spend
  • 14.4M imressions
  • $18.06 CPM

Concept & Tactics:

Objective: Brand Awareness

The campaign featured Naomi Osaka, who falls under the target demographic for the Beats Flex product which are wireless earphones targeted at young consumers (Gen Z) with a lower price point of $50 USD. The YouTube advertisement aims to inspire youth to challenge the norms and take a stand against racial inequality. 


The campaign featured three different influencers where each video inspired the audience to flex their voice, power, and clapback against injustice.

Cordae, Hip-Hop Artist & Songwriter. Cordae’s is seen rapping his song titled “The Parables” where he says “we need leaders not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.”

Spend: $201K | Impressions: 11.2M | CPM: $18.06

Flo Milli, Rapper & Songwriter. Rapper Flo Milli is seen confronting the confederate statue, with the slogan “Flex that Clapback”. Her song “May I” is played in the background. 

Spend: $123K | Impressions: 6.8M | CPM: $18.05

The “You Love Me” campaign asks the audience “you love Black culture, but do you love me?” This film highlights the diversity of Black culture and is a love letter to the Black experience.

Campaign Results

  • $578K ad spend
  • 32.1M impressions
  • $18.06 CPM

Concept & Tactics 

Objective: Brand Awareness.

The campaign featured a wide variety of influencers including tennis player Naomi Osaka, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, and rapper Lil Baby to appeal to a broader audience.Beats has stated on their YouTube page that the key message of the campaign was to “inspire Black youth by highlighting the everyday beauty and rich diversity of their culture.”

2. Community Initiatives

“Black Future Beats” is a community initiative that offers creative programs to HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) students. 

In 2020, Beats launched the “Black Futures” creative program where students of Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) can apply for a paid three month internship at Beats by Dre. The creative program is focused on filmmaking, content creating, product ideation, and journalism.


The official Beats YouTube channel features a playlist including all four short films that were directed by the students who took part in the Black Futures program. On average, each short film generated 16K video views.

As part of the initiative, the brand created a “Meet the HBCU Directors” video that showcased behind the scenes footage and an interview with each of the six directors.

3. Content Amplifying Black Voices

Beats launched a YouTube series called “Informal” where they educate and discuss the implications of social injustice.   

In December 2020, Beats launched a new YouTube series called “Informal” where guests of the show discuss the challenges that are faced by the Black community. The series has gained popularity amongst the brand’s target audience, generating 345K views on average per episode. 

The “Informal” series is hosted by Dotty, who is a rapper and DJ from London, UK. Dotty hosts her own show on Apple Music where she interviews various artists and introduces her listeners to Black music from all across the globe.

The “Informal” series covers a wide range of topics including police brutality, pressures of representation, feminism and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Topic: Police brutality in London

Guests: Wretch 32 (rapper) Unknown T (rapper)

790K Views

Topic: Pressures of representation

Guests: Mo Gilligan (comedian)

212K Views

Topic: Experiences of Black women

Guests: Eva Apio (charity founder) Shaybo (artist) Temi (social entrepreneur)

187K Views

Topic: LGBTQIA+ visibility

Guests: MNEK (artist) Munroe (activist)

194K Views

4. Organic Social Campaigns

For Black History month, Beats launched an organic social campaign on Instagram titled “Flowers For Black Women” celebrating strong Black female leaders.

Beats partnered up with various micro influencers such as Scottie Beam (podcast host), and Raquel Willis (writer & activist). In each video, the influencers talk about their experiences as Black women and when they feel the most seen. 

As part of the campaign, Beats launched an IGTV series called “Flowers For” where they discuss topics such as mother/daughter relationships and the power of transformation through activism. Each IGTV video generated on average 8K video views. 

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