3 Irreplaceable Advertising Lessons from a Queen: Beyonce & the Beyhive

Photo of Beyoncé with her hands up wear a yellow shirt

In case you somehow missed it, Beyonce graced Nashvillians with her presence Sunday night. It’s been called an “awe-inspiring spectacle” and “ like nothing else the home of the Titans has seen before” and that’s putting it lightly.

Beyoncé is a force to be reckoned with. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time and she is also the most nominated woman in Grammy Awards history, just to name a few accomplishments.

On April 23, B caused a stir with her surprise release of her latest solo “visual album,” Lemonade. We can all admit it’s a lyrical and visual masterpiece with an overabundance of wisdom, but it’s also a lesson in modern advertising we could all stand to remember.

Authenticity is key.

Beyoncé always stays true to herself, but this latest work is “an entire album of emotional discord and marital meltdown, from the world’s most famous celebrity; it’s also a major personal statement from the most respected and creative artist in the pop game.” It’s riddled with stories of heartbreak, love, loss, betrayal, and just real life. It tells “every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.

This authenticity gained her major support and has simply taken the music world by storm. Beyoncé is nothing less than herself in Lemonade, and that is why so many people have responded positively to it.

We relate to real content where the emotions are raw. Advertising, especially social media advertising, is positively regarded if authenticity is at the forefront. And this album is a testament to authenticity as a major player in shareability

Other than being relatable and enjoyable….


Authenticity builds a bee hive, and the bees will always defend their queen.

People across the world love Beyoncé, and Lemonade made lots of people love her more (and like Jay-Z a little less). The album not so subtly suggests that Jay has been unfaithful and refers to the other woman as “Becky with the good hair.” It has long been suspected that Jay Z was involved with fashion designer Rachel Roy. After Lemonade was released, Roy posted a now deleted Instagram photo with the caption “Good hair don’t care…” suggesting she was “Becky,” and the Beyhive attacked. Rachel Roy instantly received a stream of comments from the Beyhive and an overabundance of (bee emojis) and (lemonade emojis). Roy eventually had to make her Instagram private because of all the hullabaloo.

These folks are serious about Beyoncé, and they will defend her any way they can. The Beyhive is so passionate that they even started attacking the wrong person.

Rachel RAY, a celebrity chef, woke up to a social media storm after being mistaken for Rachel ROY. (see more crude but entertaining comments here, here, and here)


Although cyberbullying of this sort is never okay, it’s apparent that Beyoncé has a very loyal following. This sort of audience passion for someone, or something, will encourage them to defend and support. For brands, if you have a loyal following, those people will support you no matter what and you will always have someone invested in your brand. They will defend you against the Rachel Roys (or Rays) who try to dull your shine.

But there’s a reason the Beyhive is so committed..


Passion shows in your work

Just listen to any part of this album and you can hear the emotion and realness in the lyrics. The lyrics and poetic interludes and visuals “provoke complex and at times cryptic ideas about race, gender, power, marriage, infidelity, parenthood, and the experience of black women in America,” all of which define her life. Watch the video and you can see and feel every part of B’s journey. Music is her passion, love is her passion, life is her passion, her people are her passion and this is all apparent in her work. B didn’t just create an album, she created an hour long conceptual film to go along with it. Not only an hour long film with an entire album attached to it, but she enlisted the help of seven different cinematographers, seven celebrities, and the mothers of  Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner. She uses home footage and personal images and truly puts her whole self into her work.

If you don’t enjoy her work, you can at least appreciate the passion she puts into it.

Advertising is the same way. If you’re passionate about what you’re making, something good will come of it. All of us at Barker & Christol are passionate about what we’re doing, and it shows in the quality of our work. Not everyone will like what we create, that’s just life. But you can always see the passion in the things we create.


So listen to Lemonade, or don’t, but remember that Beyoncé can teach you lots of things about love, passion, life, authenticity, lemonade, and advertising.