Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Under Further Review: Colin Kaepernick and Beats

Colin Kaepernick is a polarizing athlete. It could be because of his tattoos, his playing style, the combination of his position and race, or his overt confidence in the handling of his haters. Personally, I see no reason to hate. He has overcome great adversity to become who he is, and I feel that some may see his confidence as being brash. No matter which way you slice it, though, Kaepernick has quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers to another NFC Championship game (the Niners travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.).

Although the commercial has been out for a little while now, I feel like Kaepernick's Beats commercial does a great job of summing up who he is.

Commercials often feel forced, which in turn leads to questionable branding. Brands often try to manufacture the story that they want to show instead of finding a perfect fit with an organically grown story. The reason I love this commercial is that although many fans probably will not make the connection or even know that a connection exists, Beats decided to go with Kaepernick's true story for the commercial, making a harmonious coupling.

Right off the bat, you see and hear a woman yell, "Kaepernick, you suck!" This hits right to the heart of the questions of whether or not Kaepernick's game is suited for the NFL. Coming out of Nevada, he wasn't the most highly touted prospect, which led to his falling to the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Because he is a quarterback who can make plays with his legs, his arm has always been in question by his dissenters.

The second piece that you're hit with is the song that plays throughout nearly the entire commercial. The song is Aloe Blacc's "The Man" which I believe perfectly conveys Kaepernick's obvious confidence and swagger. Even though the man has his fair share of haters, he keeps his head up and proves them wrong. The lyrics of the song sum it up, "Go ahead and tell everybody. I'm the man. I'm the man. I'm the man."

Next, Kaepernick walks off of the bus and through the angry crowd on his way into the stadium. All the while, he has his Beats on to tune out the crowd. He even displays a wry, almost cocky, smile right before the commercial cuts to the locker room. This all again shows his confidence, however, it's important because this is a big piece of the branding. Kaepernick wears the Beats headphones throughout his short walk. Because of Beats' popularity with athletes, the fit just feels right here. There's nothing forced about Kaepernick wearing Beats headphones, and they serve a larger purpose in the commercial which helps create a more seamless branding. It also shows noise-cancelling ability of the Beats headphones.

Finally, the commercial ends with the words "Hear What You Want" flash across the screen with Kaepernick in the background still wearing his Beats. This continues to reinforce his ability to tune out his haters and only focus on the good.

Perhaps the biggest thing that I think brands should value with their endorsements and advertisements is being sure that their ads and partnerships are organically driven. As people are inundated with hundreds of ads every single day, they have begun to learn what works and what doesn't. People notice when the pieces don't fit. Beats realized this, and I applaud them for seeing the true value in who Colin Kaepernick really is and running with it.

If you have never seen the commercial, now's the time to check it out:


Kevin Rossi is a junior Drexel Sport Management major with minors in Communications and Business Administration. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to President. Currently, Kevin is also the Drexel editor for Kevin recently finished his second co-op with Temple University in their Athletic Communications office. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Connect with Kevin Rossi on LinkedIn.


  1. Great read Kevin. Found it very interesting. Some of your points also make sense in the same commercial that Beats has with KG. Once again I think it has to do with the same type of things, leaving Boston and probably mostly the fact that he is playing pretty poorly for Brooklyn. Found it interesting that they went from KG who some can argue is proving the haters right this year to someone who is proving the haters wrong in Kaep.

  2. The question I have is why is he covering up the beats logo during post game interviews now?