If you check out CNET or Engadget‘s top-ranked headphones, you won’t find many Monster products on the list. And yet, Monster is responsible for some of the most popular headphones in the world. But why?
Monster understands that the majority of consumers aren’t concerned with best-in-class audio technology, but rather style and status. Monster capitalizes on bright colors, cool designs, and (of course) celebrity endorsements.
And why not? Unless you’ve made audio quality a priority and purchased top-of-the-line headphones from brands like Sennheiser or Audio Technica, you might not even know what you’ve been missing.
After a hugely successful contract with Beats by Dre from 2009 to 2012, Monster has put even more focus on celebrity-designed lines of headphones. This was made clear at CES 2014.
Approaching the Monster booth, with walls of red velvet that reached from the floor to the ceiling, was like approaching a fortress. Most booths at CES are open, with a number of entrances at various corners to come in and check out the products. Not Monster.
There was only one entrance to the Monster booth, and you had to go through a viciously rigid press relations desk.
Once inside, you can smell the celebrity. Pictures of celebrities hung from every wall. Marshawn Lynch loves Monster. Drew Brees loves Monster. Nick Cannon and Tyson Beckford love Monster. And, lo and behold, they were standing fifteen feet from us, explaining to various members of the press how much they love working with Monster to develop their own line of headphones.
We did our own interviews with the male super model and Mr. Mariah Carey, and they both made one thing very clear: audio technology is not the focus here. These celebrities trust Monster to get that part right, and instead focus on style.
Nick Cannon’s line of Ntune and Ncredible headphones come in wild colors, with bubbly over-ear cans. Tyson Beckford’s line of Inspiration headphones are more sleek, with colors like champagne gold and rose gold, and interchangeable headbands.
We don’t often think of it this way, but headphone makers are the pioneers of wearable technology, and it seems that Monster and its army of celebrities have figured out that the key to wearables is style. Of course, technology has to be present — the Inspiration line lets you share music (wired) from one set of headphones to the next.
But at the end of the day, if someone is putting technology on their face or head or wrist, it better look good.