Monster “Unleash the beast” to challenge Red Bull – Brilliant Brand Ideas 1

This is the first of a series of posts looking at brilliant brand ideas. Brand ideas are a key output from the brand vision to action work we do, working as a shorthand rallying call to inspire and guide the team.
[Guest post by David Nichols, Managing Partner and Head of Invention]
Red Bull has a real and present threat to it’s brand leadership in it’s biggest market, the USA.  It’s called Monster and it’s a $3.5bn brand in the US alone, with presence in a further 90 countries.  You can get a taster of the Monster brand style in their 6 minute mini film here.  
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Monster's big brand idea is “Unleash the Beast”. This is short, snappy and has an edge to it that makes it distinctive from Red Bull. This brand idea has been used to inspire and guide a highly distinctive brand mix that has helped drive the brand's growth.
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Distinctive Core Target
Monster have zeroed in on a lifestyle that is based on a punk/hip-hop/rock mood, described by Monster as "“…action sports, punk rock music, partying, hangin’ with the girls, and living life on the edge.”  These lifestyle values are global in scope, relevant to energy drinks but had not been actively embraced by the other major energy drinks (Red Bull, Rockstar, 5 Hour Energy etc.). This has allowed them to carve a unique space in the market with huge appeal.

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Distinctive media

Monster proclaim that “they don’t do ads”.  They have wholeheartedly embraced a marketing model based on sponsorship and events-based marketing.  Here is how they pitch it: “Most companies spend their money on ad agencies, TV commercials, radio spots, and billboards to tell you how good their products are. At Monster we choose none of the above. Instead, we support the scene, our bands, our athletes and our fans. We back athletes so they can make a career out of their passion.”
Distinctive identity
Claw-ripped logo and the electric colourways is a world away from the tight-lipped cleanliness of it’s arch-rival Red Bull. It stands out strongly as being for a different kind of person. And the identity has been carefully respected as the brand has expanded its range of drinks.
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Utterly Consistent:
Launched in 2002, Monster have stuck to the same logo, style, tone & sponsorship-led strategy.  What other brands can claim to have been that consistent in their first 10 years?  This has built powerful memory structure. You may not be into Monster's hip-hop/rock lifestyle, or even drink energy drinks, but you probably recognize the brand.
Summary: What is almost more amazing than this 10year old brand’s staggering growth is that neither it (nor Red Bull) is owned by one of the big global drinks companies.  It is from a ‘niche’ player.  We all thought that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo had the soft drinks market sewn up and no one could compete with their enormous ad-spend and distribution power. Their true competition has sprung up from left-field.  Monster is on a roll and it’s focus, consistency and relevance looks set to continue driving its growth yet further.