Beats and its advertising agency R/GA knew Miley Cyrus was going to have her famous “twerk” moment, grinding up to Robin Thicke during his rendition of “Blurred Lines” during the 2013 VMAs, two weeks before the awards ceremony actually aired.
In those two weeks, R/GA turned around an ad to appear right after the now-infamous twerk, which featured its “Pill” stereo speaker characters chilling on the sofa and mouthing off about Cyrus’ “flat arse” and making references to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” It was pretty risque — one of the characters exclaimed “pleeeeassee feed Miley Cyrus” — but, nevertheless, it still aired on TV in the first commercial break after Thicke and Cyrus performed.
Here’s the ad:
How was Beats and its agency able to achieve this? Well, in advertising, it pays to have contacts. And Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is probably the most powerful man in the music industry.
Speaking at Advertising Week Europe in London on Thursday, R/GA’s vice president and executive creative director, James Temple, explained how the agency and Beats are able to “create content at the speed of culture.”
In the case of the Cyrus ad: “Robin Thicke has relationships with [Iovine’s record label] Interscope and Miley is also from that stable of talent. So while these things have a level of secrecy, we have exposure to things that you wouldn’t through a normal media buy, which gives us an advantage.”
He added: “And that’s the whole point: We don’t exist around what’s available to the media agency.”
Another case in point was The Black Eyed Peas’ performance at the 2011 Super Bowl half-time show. The Black Eyed Peas also have a relationship with Interscope.
Temple told the story: “They knew that there’s a [camera] shot from the blimp [flying above the stadium] down to the stage. And the stage was a circle, which is a neat little pattern to stick a ‘B’ on it. So every time there was a shot from the blimp, it happened to be a Beats logo. So there they were ambushing the half-time show. An ad block like that during the half-time show would cost at least $US4 million to $US6 million for 30-seconds — but Beats got minutes-worth for nothing. And that’s all because Will.i.am is part of the family.”
Here’s the Black Eyed Peas performing on their B-shaped stage at the 2011 Super Bowl.
Temple summarized: “We’re very shrewd about working with moments and how you work outside the media buy and concept around it.”
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