During the 2015 U.S. Open, both Gatorade and Beats produced ads featuring Serena Williams. The tennis superstar was defeated in a major upset, yet Beats emerged victorious: its ad garnered nearly 70% more views on YouTube than the Gatorade video.

Founded by legendary rapper Dr. Dre, Beats is firmly associated with the music business. But the brand has used sports stars, not musicians, to achieve its outsized social success. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Consumer Electronics discusses how Beats leverages partnerships with athletes like Williams even more effectively than iconic sports brands.

Nike and Under Armour have tapped major athletes for their videos, but neither have reached Beats’ level of success. The Beats YouTube channel boasts an impressive 443,000 subscribers. In contrast, Nike has less than 300,000 and Under Armour has less than 100,000.

The secret to Beat’s high view counts is leveraging stars’ social media following. For example, LeBron James starred in multiple Beats videos, which he reposted to his nearly 36 million followers across social media – dramatically boosting views for each vignette. Repeat use of this strategy has multiplied Beats’ 900,000 social media followers into 105 million in just one year.

Beats on social media

Within the Consumer Electronics sector, Beats’ video success reflects a broader trend in terms of content. Index brand videos showcasing high quality, longform content garnered nearly three times more views than others, according to the L2 study. Narrative videos provide an opportunity for brands without the budget for prestigious influencers to beat the competition.

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