Neymar, Serena Williams, Michael K. Williams Team Up for Beats by Dre’s Epic New Ad

A bedtime story about rising above the noise

Headshot of Erik Oster

Beats by Dre’s latest ad hinges around a bedtime story actor Michael K. Williams tells his niece when she has trouble falling asleep.

“There once were some kids who could shut off their ears,” he begins.

While it sounds supernatural, it becomes clear Williams is referring to those who have the ability to tune out distractions and criticism, a theme explored by the brand in the past. Of course, having a pair of Beats’ Studio 3 Wireless headphones can help drown out the noise, too.

From the down-to-earth bedtime scenario, the spot branches out in typically ambitious style. The familiar theme is explored through a series of narratives, with familiar brand ambassadors standing in as exemplars of the “Above the Noise” philosophy, includig Serena Williams and Neymar Jr.

Newer faces appears as well, including Chinese Canadian actor, singer and model Kris Wu and English actress and model Cara Delevingne. Around the midway mark, the spot introduces Australian singer-songwriter Ruel’s “Don’t Tell Me.” Like a number of Beats by Dre ads, the effort also essentially functions as a music video for the promoted track.

As the scenes shift, Williams continues his story, which provides the voiceover as the spot circles back to him and his niece, now fast asleep.

Directed by Park Pictures’ Terence Neale, the ad—made by JohnXHannes New York— is as sleek and cinematic as we’ve come to expect from the brand, convincingly shifting among its separate but connected stories. Clocking in at over four minutes, it also continues the brand’s penchant for longer ads, exemplified by another spot featuring Neymar Jr.—R/GA’s 2014 World Cup effort “The Game Before the Game.”

Title: Above the Noise
Client: Beats By Dr. Dre
Agency: JohnXHannes New York
Executive Creative Director & Co-Founder: Hannes Ciatti
Executive Creative Director & Co-Founder : John McKelvey
Head of Production: Matt Bonin
Creative Director: Dan Kroeger
Creative Director: Pierre Janneau
Production Co: Park Pictures
Terence Neale – Director
Jackie Kelman-Bisbee & Scott Howard – Executive Producers
Anne Bobroff – Head of Production
Youree Henley, Tim Kerrison & Dougal Meese – Producers
Alexis Zabe – Director of Photography
Editor: Leo Scott & Chris Catanach, Cartel
Color: Tom Poole, Company 3
Finishing: A52
Music: “Don’t Tell Me” – Ruel

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@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.