Striking the right Beats: Coldplay’s product placement strategy pays off

Along with 24-hour music broadcast channels, video sharing platforms like YouTube have given music videos a new lease of life, with artists delivering ever more outlandish, expensive and creative films to accompany new tracks.

Like many Hollywood movies and television programmes, many are also now incorporating subtle and not-so-subtle product placements. Coldplay are the latest globally-recognised band to do so. The video for new single Adventure of a Lifetime, from the new album A Head Full of Dreams, features not only a cartload of CGI dancing chimpanzees but also a major product placement for Beats By Dre’s new speaker product Pills.

Repucom analysis shows that Beats appears in the video for 28 seconds, generating a return for the company on YouTube of nearly US$165,000 during the fourteen days after it was posted– the video was viewed nearly 15.9 million times during its first two weeks of release.

Should the song and video enjoy the same success as previous Coldplay tracks, notably Viva La Vida, the video for which was uploaded to the band’s official YouTube channel in 2008 and has been viewed over 222 million times, Beats’ appearance could be worth as much as US$2.3 million to the company over a multi-year period.


brands should be considering this route as part of their marketing and product launch strategies

“This data underlines the power and value of prominent product placements,” says Max Barnett, Repucom’s Head of Digital in the UK and Ireland. “Integrating the right brand into the right music video, film or television programme can generate sizeable return on investment for brands. Although product placements must be managed carefully, to ensure credibility and authenticity, there is no doubt that they can provide brands with valuable exposure to audiences they might not otherwise be able to connect with as effectively.

“The longevity of a music video’s shelf life online – as with previous Coldplay videos, for some time to come the Adventure of a Lifetime video will be shared and watched on YouTube by new viewers or returning fans – is another reason why brands should be considering this route as part of their marketing and product launch strategies.”

Beats’ appearance in the Adventure of a Lifetime video has inevitably sparked a great deal of discussion in the marketing and advertising press, given that it appears to mark a departure from Coldplay’s previous stance on brand endorsements. The brand itself, however, already has an impressive track record of creative marketing.

In a discussion on product placement published last week, Forbes pointed to the difference between Beats’ and the likes of Apple, brands which tend to be showcased ‘in much more modern, real-word situations’. It said: ‘Beats Music’s newfound home amongst a group of dancing apes actually makes the speakers feel more timeless, and also invites a conversation on the relationship between evolution and continuation in music.’

Founded by producer and artist Dr. Dre and under the ownership of Apple since 2014, Beats Electronics has previously generated significant value through online content campaigns featuring stars such as footballer Neymar, who appeared in films which ran during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and, more recently, New Zealand Rugby World Cup winner Richie McCaw.

Nielsen Sports´ Barnett adds:

“With an already high-profile company like Beats, the subsequent discussion of their product placement and marketing strategy also gives the brand and their new products further exposure beyond the visuals of the video.”

Nielsen Sports will shortly launch its first global live music report, examining the music sponsorship landscape, the opportunities for brands at festivals and online, and considering the impact new technology is having on artists, promoters and music fans.