Truth be told, I skip YouTube ads as soon as the “Skip ad” sign comes on, but the Beats by Dre – Wireless feat. LeBron James one got me hooked.
Now that I’ve watched it +30 times, I can sum up that “something” as follows: the opening frames that set the scene in Akron, Ohio, and LeBron’s mother welcoming him back home; LeBron returning to the gym of his old high school for a workout session, cutaway shots reminiscing his childhood and the moments that marked it, and a closing line from his mother encouraging him to “never forget where you came from”; Hozier’s “Take me to church” as background music, which sort of puts a fate-like twist on the whole thing; and a pair of wireless Beats ear-buds that LeBron trains to, to wrap up the whole mantra that hard work pays off and leads to success and that these stories are best told and related to through music. Brought to you by Beats by Dre.
It’s a beautiful and credible type of ad, where different stories come together and create an overall, master story that many people and perhaps communities can relate to. And in true digital-age storytelling style, a series of 6 or 7 25-second videos that you can also find on YouTube talk about other landmarks in LeBron’s hometown. Kind of like mapping his life and the place he grew up in; what about pinning them onto a digital map or something and holding further engagement events, like gigs, for that matter? Just a thought.
It also makes you reflect (not a too precious a word, I hope) on why storytelling works so well in marketing. We’re people to begin with, consumerism is almost an extension of ourselves, so when stories about challenging backgrounds, dreams, hard work, success and all the associated emotions come on screen, we identify with them on a human level – and re-act as prompted.
Sneaky little thing, because you can’t almost tell where the truth lies – in the real world or in advertising, but I suppose that’s what the industry is about and what smart, discerning consumers should be for. Beats by Dre Wireless Ear-buds cost £169.95 and you can buy them at the Apple store, so you know.