We Hear: Beats in the Middle of a Global Media Agency Review

By Patrick Coffee 

About six weeks ago, Campaign reported that Beats Electronics (no longer By Dre) had been talking to UK agencies regarding its media business.

We recently learned from a party with specific knowledge of the matter that those talks preceded a full global media agency review for the Apple-owned audio company.

This news is in keeping with the company’s plans to expand its business around the world and focus more resources on markets outside the U.S.


Despite its growing name recognition, Beats’ marketing spend remains small. According to Kantar Media, the company spent $40 million on measured media in North America for 2015 and about half that during the first 10 months of 2016. Its global totals, however, are unavailable at this time.

According to our source, the competitors in this review were IPG’s UM and WPP’s GroupM, which has been working on the business in the EMEA via its Maxus division. We hear that UM recently exited the process.

Representatives from UM, GroupM, Starcom and Omnicom declined to comment on the review, though we have confirmed that the latter two holding companies are not involved in the pitch. Apple has not yet responded to related queries.

On the creative side, R/GA had been Beats’ sole creative partner before last year’s U.S. review, which saw the business go to Anomaly. The MDC Partners agency subsequently opened a new L.A. office, hired 25 staffers and launched a couple of celebrity-heavy campaigns late last year right after company CMO Omar Johnson announced his pending departure in Fast Company. The company has not yet named his successor.

According to Campaign, most of the R/GA Beats work has since moved from Hustle in Los Angeles to the London office.