"Will somebody please feed Miley Cyrus?"
That's the request from one anthropomorphized Beats Pill speaker to another in the commercial below, which aired Sunday on MTV after the pop singer's controversial performance on the Video Music Awards. To which the other speaker opines: "Don't you need ass to twerk?"
Actually, Beats, feeding Miley would be your job.
First off, hat tip to sci-fi writer Tim Maughan for pointing out the Miley-mocking video on the Beats page. The brand is involved with plenty of pop and hip-hop stars at the moment, but the confluence of Miley and Robin Thicke at the VMAs was a branding bonanza for the electronics maker.
Beats Electronics is, of course, the brainchild of rapper and producer Dre, whose Beats by Dre headphones have been a huge success. The company's next big thing is a wireless speaker called the Beats Pill, voiced in commercials by Eminem, Chris Rock and (it sounds like, at least) Tichina Arnold from Fox's late, lamented Everybody Hates Chris. The speakers have been prominently featured in music videos, notably Miley's, and Thicke starred in a full-blown RadioShack ad for them with his accessories—I'm sorry, backup dancers—using the speakers to do more or less everything except speak.
Anyway, on Sunday, Miley and Robin got down and dirty on stage in a way that offended millions of people who were doubtless being forced at gunpoint to endure the spectacle. Beats, meanwhile, was ready—like, really, really ready (thanks to the digital wizards at Framestore)—to whip up a video showing two Pills asking where "all the thick girls" have gone while watching clips from Thicke's video and then suggesting Miley should have more material to twerk with. "Somewhere, Sir Mix-A-Lot is crying his eyes out," says one.
This actually wasn't the only time Beats teed off on a pop star during the show. It also found time to make fun of Katy Perry (who doesn't appear to be sponsored by the company) in a video with Barclays Center seats visible behind the two big-mouthed little speaker dudes. And Dre protege Eminem announced a new album at the VMAs, which Beats immediately promoted with a 30-second clip from the rapper's new single.
Check out all three videos below. It was a well-orchestrated campaign of pop-culture mockery—as well as pop-culture sponsorship, individual-artist sponsorship, cross-platform synergy, album promotion. So, y'know, don't confuse it with satire.
Here's a question: When, during the VMAs, weren't you watching an ad? Yeah, we're going to go with "never," too.