“Monster is known for innovating; we're not afraid to try new brands. When ... Bang entered the category, we launched Reign. As we saw more competition, [we launched] Reign Storm. We bring in new ambassadors. Our marketing continues to evolve to stay relevant with the right consumers,” said Allison Erfort, director of marketing for coffee and teas for Monster Energy.
The rivalry ends with an acquisition: Monster to buy Bang
Last fall, Bang's parent company Vital Pharmaceuticals was ordered to pay $293m in damages to Monster due to false advertisement claims. Shortly after, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Monster later agreed to acquire the brand out of bankruptcy for $362 million.
Sam Pontrelli, senior VP of communications and former senior VP of marketing for Monster, said the two “complement each other perfectly.” Monster's namesake brand can cater to its loyal fans, while Bang has “been known for its cleaner energy and zero sugar” and allows it to grow in the better-for-you segment, he added.
“The zero-sugar charge is really very, very popular right now, and that's not something that the Monster portfolio has been necessarily known for, even though we do have our Zero Ultra line. It got overshadowed by the whole Monster umbrella around full sugars. So even though it got accepted by a lot of consumers, I would say that the true Monster advocates, I don't think yet really understand the Zero Ultra line.”
Tapping into more occasions with coffees, waters, teas
Monster is also growing in coffees, teas, and waters, and launched a Café Latte flavor of its Java coffee energy drink line this August, Erfort said. Additionally, the company expanded into the bottled water segment with its Monarchy Tour Water line, available in a Well Water and Sparkling variety, she added.
"We have our number one SKU Mean Bean, which is a vanilla-bean product, and then we have Loca Moca, which is a mocha-based product," Erfort said. "We noticed we didn't have just that ... unflavored coffee [flavor], and that still tends to be where a large amount of consumers go to have their morning coffee or their afternoon pick me up."
Looking to the future, the company will expand its portfolio with new flavors and usage occasions and work to better inform consumers on the range of Monster products available, Erfort said.
"We are starting to operate in so many different segments that a lot of times we're still educating consumers on the depth and breadth of what Monster Energy Company is," Erfort said. "We also have a Rehab line, which is a tea-based product line. It has different functional ingredients that really rebuild, rehabilitate, and rehydrate consumers... We have so many different brands within our portfolio that are hitting different consumer needs states."