Monster Products' press conference at CES 2017 had the same flare and energy as it does every year, with cheers and applause at every turn, including the introduction for Head Monster Noel Lee.
While several new product announcements and branding partnerships were announced throughout the event, the biggest announcement was Lee's confirmation that Monster would be "blowing up its business" and expanding distribution. And it seems that the wireless retail channel will be a big part of that, given the company's new relationship with mega distributor Brightstar.
While Brightstar works with a number of major brands in terms of helping them tailor product assortments and cater strategically to customers, they focus heavily on the wireless channel. Rogers Wireless, for example, is just one Canadian wireless provider/retailer that works with them on a large scale on its product assortment.
That's a big shift for Monster, a company that started out just making cables, and has now rebranded itself as a provider of everything from headphones, to portable speakers, and other audio/video and gaming gear.
"Wireless stores are one of the only places left where you still have a consultative sales experience," said Andy Zeinfeld, President of Global Channel Development and Sales for Brightstar at the conference. While independent audio/video and other specialist retailers might beg to differ, this is certainly the case when you look at big box stores where the strategy is simply to grab and go.
It will be interesting to see how Brightstar's involvement changes how and where we see Monster products being sold. Among new products in the line are revamped iSport earbuds that boast improved packaging with icons that help customers more easily select the best products to meet their needs. There's also a new Monster Clarity HD headphone line that's aggressively priced for those looking for affordable solutions.
Most notable, however, are three new products in particular. The first is Monster's inaugural active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones with Bluetooth. While Lee says Monster has typically been focused on fostering the wearer's desire to hear his music, not cancel it out, there was enough of a demand to warrant adding an ANC model to the company's lineup.
The second are the new AirLink Elements Diamonds wireless earbuds, Monster's answer to the Apple AirPods and the elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack in the latest iPhone 7. The stylish earbuds almost look like earrings, and will likely appeal particularly to the female crowd. They boast laser-etched, Y-shaped inner antenna, and "super-synch" technology.
And third, Monster is grabbing a tagline associated with an old JVC campaign, His Master's Voice, as nomenclature for its latest line of voice activated products, including the Alexa bundle with its latest SoundStage2 voice-activated wireless speaker system. We expect that this will be just one product announcement surrounding Amazon's clever voice assistant.
We'll be checking out these products and more at the Monster booth once they show floor officially opens tomorrow. Stay tuned!