Dr Dre and his company Beats Electronics have taken the unusual step of creating a guerilla marketing campaign with Great Britain’s Olympic athletes.
The brand, which is not an official sponsor of the International Olympic Committee or London 2012, has skirted strict rules on ambush marketing by sending British team members special versions of the Beats range branded with the colours of the Union Jack.
Among the athletes who have been sporting the headphones are diving star Tom Daley, tennis player Laura Robson and Team GB/England goalkeeper Jack Butland, while swimming superstar Michael Phelps has been using them before he swims in all of his races.
The stunt may well have aggravated officials at the International Olympic Committee, who have put in place strict rules to protect official sponsors who have paid millions of pounds for the exclusive right to exploit their association with the event.
Several of athletes, including Robson and Butland, have also tweeted about the headphones, who also violates the IOC’s rules on sponsorships. Neither the IOC or the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games have commented on the stunt.
Dr Dre set the Beats Electronics company up in 2008 with Geffen records executive Jimmy Iovine and sold 51 per cent of the firm to smartphone manufacturers HTC for a cool $309 million (£190 million) last summer.