A recent ad for Radio Shack and a new Beats by Dr. Dre product line called the Beats Pill, which includes pill-shaped speakers, used both an appearance by Robin Thicke as well as his highly popular song, “Blurred Lines.”  The commercial was filmed to mimic Thicke’s music video for the same song and airs frequently on cable stations.  The ad uses only a clip of “Blurred Lines,” but does not alter the lyrics or instrumentation in any way.

Robin Thicke is a great fit for the Beats brand because he is currently very popular, hip, and stylish – all attributes the brand is most likely aiming towards.  Thicke also comes across as edgy and cool, which makes him the perfect spokesman for the Beats’ brand, as the demographic they tend to attract can be considered to have the same personality traits.  The commercial not only promotes the Beats Pill speaker line, but also gives Thicke even more exposure (like he needs it) to promote his newest album that dropped over the summer.  It would be difficult not to have heard the “Blurred Lines” song prior to viewing the ad, which makes the ad even more effective due to the popularity of the song.  There are probably many motives for using Thicke in the ad, one of which is the fact that “Blurred Lines” is so catchy and consumers are more likely to associate that product with the song whenever they hear it – and they definitely hear it, over and over (and over and over).  This concept is discussed by Wharton (2013) when he notes a statement by Clow and Baack:

“Music can be the stimulus that ties a particular musical arrangement, jingle or song to a certain product or company… As soon as the tune begins, consumers know what product is being advertised because they have been conditioned to tie the product to the music.  Brand awareness, brand equity and brand loyalty are easier to develop when consumers are familiar with the music” (p. 101).

Overall, Robin Thicke and his song of summer, “Blurred Lines,” are smart and effective additions to the Radio Shack and Beats by Dr. Dre Pill commercial.  Using such a memorable and familiar song to promote a product will enhance the likelihood that consumers will associate the product with the song whenever they hear it, and therefore be more interested in buying the product.  The ad is suggestive and provocative, just like Thicke’s music video, and it certainly has generated a lot of buzz -mostly negative.  Regardless of consumers’ personal opinions of the ad, they most likely remember both the Beats Pill and Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which will likely be effective at giving Beats by Dr. Dre more staying power in the personal audio market.


Wharton, C. (2013). Advertising as culture. Chicago: Intellect.