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Beats by Dre has released a new commercial featuring LeBron James and the music of Imagine Dragons. The release coincided with game one of the NBA finals on Thursday night and is showcasing Beats’ answer to Apple’s ubiquitous headset, made with athletes in mind. Watch the commercial below:

The song featured in the commercial is Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (Grouplove & Captain Cuts Remix). I wanted to profile this commercial because it is an interesting counterpoint to my last few posts discussing clever ways of organically integrating the band name / endorser into the commercial. In this commercial, they pull no punches and go with an on-screen chyron (the credits in the lower left corner) leaving no doubt who the audience is listening to. The goal for the artist here is the same–gain some publicity to go along with whatever money they are making for the commercial. But while the chyron is probably the most surefire way to achieve this, I don’t think it is always the best long-term option. Personally I think that the chyron can make it seem a bit too “commercial.” I know that might sound silly since we are, after all, talking about COMMERCIALS, but I think there is a line between lending your music to the campaign and becoming wedded to the product. For example, in this case, if you visit the Powerbeats website, “Radioactive” is available for download and is touted as “LeBron’s power track.” I think it creates the impression that the partnership was conceived by profit-oriented bigwigs, rather than creatively-minded people who feel strongly about the product. (Whether either scenario is actually true is beside the point).

Some products don’t care about appearing edgy, or creative or organic, and that’s fine. It all depends on the brand and the strategy. But the ad agency and the brand strategists aren’t going to represent the interests of the artist. If they decide to go with a no-nonsense approach, it is the artist’s representative’s job to make sure that that is the best approach for their own long-term strategy as well.

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