Speakers

Monster to pay $10M+ for Super Bowl Ad Depicting Life of Noel Lee

Monster is paying millions for a 60-second Super Bowl commercial featuring the life of founder Noel Lee to launch a new line of headphones and speakers. Rock, pop, country and hip hop artists are featured.

Monster to pay $10M+ for Super Bowl Ad Depicting Life of Noel Lee
YouTube star RiceGum plays the young Head Monster Noel Lee in a 60-second commercial during the Super Bowl, featuring the song "Savior" from Grammy-winning pop star Iggy Azalea

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Monster was founded over 30 years ago by Head Monster Noel Lee, who was recently honored with the prestigious Plus X Award®: Lifetime Achievement Award. The company...
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Jason Knott · February 2, 2018

A few years ago Sonos made a splash with an ad during the Super Bowl. This year it is Monster's turn. The California-based cable giant is shelling out millions for a 60-second TV spot during Super Bowl LII that will depict the life of founder Noel Lee. The ad, which just for ad time is $10 million (NBC is charging $5 million for 30-second ads), features an array of music artists, frompop. rock, country and hip hop.

The ad is titled "You Deserve Better" and features the song "Savior" from Grammy-winning pop star Iggy Azalea. The commercial serves as the launch of Monster's new headphones and speakers under the marketing campaign slogan "MonsterTakeover 2018."

Those products have been in development for three years following the nasty breakup followed by lawsuits between Monster and Beats. Monster engineered the Beats line for its partners rapper Dr. Dre and Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine. Monster split ways with the duo back in 2012 after HTC Corporation of Taiwan bought 50.1 percent of Beats for $306 million. Beats was subsequently sold to Apple for $3 billion. 

SEE RELATED: Monster's Noel Lee 'Glad' Apple Purchased Beats

The 60-second spot is based on the real-life story of Monster founder and audio engineer Noel Lee – "highlighting his lifelong quest to bring better music sound to the world," according to a press release. 

Set in New York City, the spot follows the young Lee, living in a drab, uninspiring world where people listen to music using only the plain ear buds that come with their phones. Inspired by a beautiful singing voice he hears on the subway, Lee returns to his garage workshop where he creates Monster – his groundbreaking audio company.

The workshop scene highlights Noel Lee’s career of cable and power products that litter the table.  The rich history of Monster’s products are highlighted, but the advanced new products are rocked with celebrity talent in the video. 

In addition to Azalea, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, chart-topping hip hop icon Yo Gotti, Big & Rich country star Big Kenny, singer, dancer, actor and TV personality Joey Fatone, songwriter/producer Poo-Bear, reality TV star and entrepreneur Jonathan Cheban, and radio host/TV personality Charlamagne tha God and DJ Irie appear in the ad.

YouTube Star RiceGum Plays Lee

Musical artist and YouTube star RiceGum plays the young “Head Monster” Noel Lee. Lee and Monster COO Fred Khalilian appear as themselves at the end of the spot.

It’s expected that the Monster’s Super Bowl ad will have over 100 million viewers, with another 100+ million views from a follow-up longer version YouTube spot. Worldwide viewership is anticipated in excess of 300 million people. The spot was produced by the NBCUniversal Content Innovation Agency. 

“This Super Bowl ad is an incredible honor for me – a guy who started out 39 years ago in a garage with not much more than my passion for music and my belief that by utilizing technology and innovation I could create products and solutions for delivering better music listening experiences," says Lee.

According to the press relesae, the Iggy Azalea song “Savior” is the perfect theme of young Lee, "who is driven to bring the sound and emotion of 'live' music in a way that no one else had done it."



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  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jknott@ehpub.com

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Comments

Posted by Randy Blanchard on February 7, 2018

I think people are missing the point.  By Noel doing the commercial about himself it personifies the company.  I think today people relate more to people than faceless companies.  Look at Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Dre, etc.  Thirty years ago we could care less who was behind the company.  I believe Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others changed that.  I think people will relate more to his headphones this way.  Now is it worth $10+ mil? We will have to wait and see.

Posted by Chuck Schneider on February 5, 2018

You’re right, tmaddison.

Noel was just starting to hit his stride and gain some cred in the early 80s as he began to get his stuff into various members of the old PRO group like Tweeter and HiFi Buys. That was when Sony introduced the first buds. They had very thin wires and came in a plastic wind up case that took some getting used to.  BTW, they didn’t sell well at all but that’s another story for another day.

Monster had modest headquarters in San Francisco back then but Noel was years removed from working out of his garage. The SB ad takes some creative poetic license but I thought it was pretty good for a 1st effort.

That said, the Alexa ad with Gordon Ramsey and Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter et al was really really funny.

Posted by tmaddison on February 5, 2018

Lot of sniping going on here about the value of the commercial, but am I the only person old enough to know that Monster was FAR beyond the “garage” stage when earbuds became a thing?

I don’t know when Monster was formed, but I have memories of swapping out people’s 18 gauge zip cord for much more substantial Monster cable at least in the early to mid 80’s….

By the time earbuds were a thing, Monster was a pretty big company…

Posted by RobMacK on February 4, 2018

https://img.memecdn.com/arguing-on-the-internet_o_1913115.jpg

Posted by Chuck Schneider on February 4, 2018

As noted by a few people (with real names) on here, at least when I proffer my opinion, everyone knows who I am. The net is full of cowardly trolls who hide behind anonymous screen names, living in their Mom’s basement wearing tattered and unwashed “I’m With Her” T-shirts.

Noel buying a SeaRay, Ferrari or Gulfstream would not put the Monster brand in front of 600 million eyeballs. Ask any old timer at Apple if the 1984 Ridley Scott ad was worth it. They’ll, to a person, likely tell you it saved the company.

Rob, thanks for responding even though you don’t care about what I said about your comment. That was my favorite sentence in your whole rant!

Posted by RobMacK on February 4, 2018

Wow Chuck. You win the Snowflake du Jour award. Apparently my own opinion, while perhaps unpopular and maybe even harsh, is now considered “racist”, “wrong” and “dumb”, along with other negative comparisons? It’s my opinion. Not yours.

I really don’t care what you think about my comment but it’s true. I believe that it’s a waste of $10m+. But then again, Noel is free to spend his well-earned monies any way he wants to. In the same way that <insert famous wealthy person> is free to buy themselves a 200ft yacht, a flashy sports car or a private jet just to satisfy their ego or social status ranking.

And that’s really what this is. It’s not about Monster products or tech or anything that talks about the brand: it’s about Noel himself. As Frederick above said (much more eloquently than I):”...shouldn’t they put the money into product development, real marketing and dealer support to rebuild the brands- seems to me that common business sense would dictate the latter- but it is his money so…...... a 10 mil Ego boost-  ??????????”

I use Monster products and have sold loads of their (sometimes overly hyped & expensive) products in my career. I’ve got nothing against Monster per se. But I can tell you this: when Monster still owes about $100m to Beats Electronics (maybe more), spending $10m on 1 Super Bowl minute ad doesn’t make much sense to me.
Especially after Monster was ordered to pay almost $8m to reimburse Beats’ court costs for the recent litigation debacle.

Oh and I hope the Eagles wipe New England off the field. Probably won’t ever happen but hey, it’s my “opinion”. Or am I not allowed to have that either?

Get over yourselves already.

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

well said Loren- anon web sniping is so easy- especially when you dont’t have to take to consequences and can hide behind a screen name.

Posted by loren roetman on February 4, 2018

I’m with Chuck on this one. Who is RobMacK anyway? Anonymous sniper or JimmyDre plant? Come into the light and rip it up like a mensch.

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

oh and BTW is not just 10 mil those artist appearances are not free so…......... maybe closer to 15???

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

Well Rob is being rude and Chuck is being a little too nice- the point here is: should they spend 10mil to promote “the Life of Head monster"as in who really cares or…. shouldn’t they put the money into product development, real marketing and dealer support to rebuild the brands- seems to me that common business sense would dictate the latter- but it is his money so…...... a 10 mil Ego boost-  ??????????

View all comments.

Posted by RobMacK on February 3, 2018

Well, you know what they say about a fool and his money…

Posted by Chuck Schneider on February 3, 2018

              The one-off Super Bowl ad gambit has worked for a number of companies over 50 years. In our space, only Sonos has pulled the trigger. Considering that Noel probably found the $10 Mil in the chair cushions around the building, the expense is no biggie to him. He spent, I believe, more than that when he bought the naming rights to the 49ers Candlestick Park almost 15 years ago. And that was 4 years before Dre. 

This icon’s net worth is rumored to be north of a half billion and he’s earned every penny. Noel Lee is the epitome of the American dream.
                             
Wow, RobMacK, a Fool? Really?
   
Your flip one liner is: 
a) wrong
b)  ill informed and thoughtless
c)  dumb and
d)  although I’m anything but a liberal social justice warrior, bordering on racist.                         

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

Well Rob is being rude and Chuck is being a little too nice- the point here is: should they spend 10mil to promote “the Life of Head monster"as in who really cares or…. shouldn’t they put the money into product development, real marketing and dealer support to rebuild the brands- seems to me that common business sense would dictate the latter- but it is his money so…...... a 10 mil Ego boost-  ??????????

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

oh and BTW is not just 10 mil those artist appearances are not free so…......... maybe closer to 15???

Posted by loren roetman on February 4, 2018

I’m with Chuck on this one. Who is RobMacK anyway? Anonymous sniper or JimmyDre plant? Come into the light and rip it up like a mensch.

Posted by Frederick Ampel on February 4, 2018

well said Loren- anon web sniping is so easy- especially when you dont’t have to take to consequences and can hide behind a screen name.

Posted by RobMacK on February 4, 2018

Wow Chuck. You win the Snowflake du Jour award. Apparently my own opinion, while perhaps unpopular and maybe even harsh, is now considered “racist”, “wrong” and “dumb”, along with other negative comparisons? It’s my opinion. Not yours.

I really don’t care what you think about my comment but it’s true. I believe that it’s a waste of $10m+. But then again, Noel is free to spend his well-earned monies any way he wants to. In the same way that <insert famous wealthy person> is free to buy themselves a 200ft yacht, a flashy sports car or a private jet just to satisfy their ego or social status ranking.

And that’s really what this is. It’s not about Monster products or tech or anything that talks about the brand: it’s about Noel himself. As Frederick above said (much more eloquently than I):”...shouldn’t they put the money into product development, real marketing and dealer support to rebuild the brands- seems to me that common business sense would dictate the latter- but it is his money so…...... a 10 mil Ego boost-  ??????????”

I use Monster products and have sold loads of their (sometimes overly hyped & expensive) products in my career. I’ve got nothing against Monster per se. But I can tell you this: when Monster still owes about $100m to Beats Electronics (maybe more), spending $10m on 1 Super Bowl minute ad doesn’t make much sense to me.
Especially after Monster was ordered to pay almost $8m to reimburse Beats’ court costs for the recent litigation debacle.

Oh and I hope the Eagles wipe New England off the field. Probably won’t ever happen but hey, it’s my “opinion”. Or am I not allowed to have that either?

Get over yourselves already.

Posted by Chuck Schneider on February 4, 2018

As noted by a few people (with real names) on here, at least when I proffer my opinion, everyone knows who I am. The net is full of cowardly trolls who hide behind anonymous screen names, living in their Mom’s basement wearing tattered and unwashed “I’m With Her” T-shirts.

Noel buying a SeaRay, Ferrari or Gulfstream would not put the Monster brand in front of 600 million eyeballs. Ask any old timer at Apple if the 1984 Ridley Scott ad was worth it. They’ll, to a person, likely tell you it saved the company.

Rob, thanks for responding even though you don’t care about what I said about your comment. That was my favorite sentence in your whole rant!

Posted by RobMacK on February 4, 2018

https://img.memecdn.com/arguing-on-the-internet_o_1913115.jpg

Posted by tmaddison on February 5, 2018

Lot of sniping going on here about the value of the commercial, but am I the only person old enough to know that Monster was FAR beyond the “garage” stage when earbuds became a thing?

I don’t know when Monster was formed, but I have memories of swapping out people’s 18 gauge zip cord for much more substantial Monster cable at least in the early to mid 80’s….

By the time earbuds were a thing, Monster was a pretty big company…

View all comments.

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