SBJ/February 6-12, 2017/In Depth

Beauty and the beast: Monster’s tantalizing HR reward

Miami’s Monster target and a beast of a reward.
Photo by: ROBERT VIGON / MIAMI MARLINS (2)
Call it the Miami sound machine.

Headphone manufacturer Monster last June signed a multiyear marketing partnership with the Miami Marlins, designating the brand the “Official Sound of the Miami Marlins.” Terms of the deal were not shared, but Monster CEO Noel Lee said
it was his Bay Area company’s biggest sports investment since 2008, when its five-year, $6 million deal for the naming rights to the former Candlestick Park expired.

Who did the deal? Lee; Tom Land, Monster’s vice president of channel marketing; and Dave Murphey, Marlins senior director of corporate partnerships.

How did the discussions get started? The Monster-Marlins deal began November 2015 at Art Basel, an annual international art event in Miami Beach, where Murphey was introduced to Lee by a mutual acquaintance. Lee invited Murphey to meet him at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Lee was showcasing his products. Additionally, Monster and U.K.-based Bentley had recently agreed to a partnership. Conversations about a deal began after Murphey saw the Bentley Continental GT V8 S with Monster’s Onyx black and red color scheme, customized with 16 speakers that could generate the equivalent of a small stadium’s audio system (3,400 watts of audio).

How did the activation work? Monster’s most visible activation was a 10-by-28-foot sign in Marlins Park’s center field home run porch that beckoned batters to hit a “Monster Homer.” If a home run ball hit any part of the sign — 463 feet away from home plate — a random row of 10 fans went home with a set of premium headphones. If a player hit the “O” in the sign, he won a Monster-designed Bentley. The car was on display in the center field promenade near the actual Monster sign.

The company also had a highly visible retail area directly across the home plate entrance, where approximately 43 percent of fans enter the ballpark. The Monster HD Clarity line of products was also sold at the Marlins’ team store at Miami International Airport.

Why was it unique? It brought together two high-end products, each of which had almost no presence in the U.S. sports scene, in a market that is known to love its bling.

Why do we like it? It worked. Monster enjoyed an 11 percent year-over-year increase in overall sales in South Florida in 2016, and the company’s lifestyle marketing staff has increased from two to 11, with new activation underway in the U.K., Germany and Russia.

Additionally, the ballpark signage received a media equivalent of $1.47 million in media exposure last season, according to Nielsen Sports. Murphey said that six home run balls just missed hitting the Monster logo last season, but none hit the sign.

It also did something a standard signage deal rarely does — it created a buzz among the players. Murphey said it was fun hearing Marlins and visiting players predict that they were going to drive away in a Bentley.

— David Broughton

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