Originally Posted by Avatar
I've been mixing it up with special interests for about 25 years now beginning with the HJ Heinz Co. and currently with Dupont, and I can tell you that these guys are so insulated and so smug in their elitist opulent self-regard that it's going to take more than idle threats. I'm thinking more along these lines:
Monster Beverage Corporation
Rodney Sacks, CEO
Santa Monica, CA
It has recently come to my attention that your company's ambitions regarding the sale of hyper-caffeinated beverages to youth and other discriminating consumer demographic groups have evolved to the point that your legal affairs department is now engaged in attempts to obtain dominion over the letter "M" and the English word "Monster". I refer to the recent suit filed against Monster FishKeepers Aquarium Network (MFA) claiming that the use of these marks constitutes trademark infringement and would cause confusion with your company's own MONSTER™, MONSTER ENERGY®, and MONSTER “Claw M®” marks/products.
While your own staff and expert legal team, whom doubtless earn fabulous amounts of money commensurate with your own $65.81 million 5-year corporate compensation package, may not be able to differentiate between a live freshwater fish and an aluminum can containing excessive amounts of caffeine designed to seduce young consumers and coach potatoes into believing that human vitality can simply be bought, I am quite certain that most people can discriminate between the two, and that your company is not so much at risk from external infringement of its marketing and branding so much as it is from internal ineptitude, incompetency and a misguided and utter lack of sense regarding what truly represents the best interests of MBC, formerly Hansen's Natural, or MNST as it is designated on the New York Stock Exchange. In so far as you sold 150,000 MNST shares at an average price of $75.29 on June 13, 2012 for a total transaction amount of $11,293,500.00, as well as 1,020,000 shares of MNST stock in December, January, March and May, I must say that I view the personal decision to liquidate your holdings in the company as extremely astute given indications that the Monster Beverage Company's senior management and corporate counsel are running amok.
Fish-keeping is the second most popular hobby in the United States and there are presently over ten million households in America that maintain aquariums for fish, and several hundred state, regional and national aquarium clubs and societies. As CEO you might consider asking your legal department, corporate affairs and particularly your consumer relations departments to reassess MBC/MNST's near and long-term corporate strategy in light of the fact that they seem to be doing their utmost to antagonize a very large part of the US consumer market with what may be one of the most ridiculous lawsuits ever filed. If you and they choose to ignore this suggestion at the risk of bringing ridicule to a company that at the end of the day appears to derive its greatest share of glory (and revenue) from selling stimulants to unwitting teenagers, well, go for it. I daresay that your company will ultimately lose in the all-important court of public opinion, face tremendous ridicule, and loss or depression of market share in the process, but then that will only make your recent decision and that of other board members to sell your shares in the company appear prescient.
My friends and associates already view the evolution of this issue with great interest, and are anticipating your legal department's next gambit with respect to achieving suzerainty over a letter of the alphabet, and an English word that has been in common usage for as long as the language has existed and doubtless articulated in some fashion since the dawn of human speech. Much of our discussion revolves around the next logical target in this otherwise illogical and indeed irrational case of corporate paranoia, the likely disinclination to similarly take on attorneys representing River Monsters or Monster Fish of the National Geographic Channel, and the distinct possibility that nationally celebrated comedians, talk-show hosts, journalists and bloggers will seize upon this as the newest example of inane corporate activity and an omen of similarly misguided action by companies wishing to be accorded ownership for parts of the English language.
While your use of the word monster is a prized corporate asset, as a policy analyst and communications professional it occurs to me that it could easily become a liability in so far as monster and monstrous may soon be used to describe the company and its personnel rather than its products. For my part, it is my devote hope that this case goes to trial, for unless I am mistaken, any judge in the land worth their salt would be hard pressed not to laugh out loud before dismissing it on multiple grounds.
As of yesterday a boycott was started against your company and its products. By the end of next week every fish club in America will know about it, and after that the community of manufacturers and retailers whom support the hobby and indeed rely on it for their livelihoods will be enjoined. Thereafter and if necessary, it will promulgate through social networking, the internet and other means throughout the dog, cat, reptile and larger pet-keeping community so that in a very short time virtually every associated household, forum, website and related retail outlet in the country will know of MBC's predatory intent as it pertains to a respected member and voice for America's true national pastime. Materials are being prepared (read as "viral marketing") for distribution on the web that I believe you and your shareholders will find to be a source of great interest if not necessarily amusement, the content, timbre and distribution of which will depend on if you chose to proceed with the lawsuit, and how long any choice to do so persists.
If you really want to know what it is to create a monster, by all means continue, though if you pause to reflect I believe you'll find that your company needs the public relations nightmare you're courting far less than it does the termination of the Monster Fishkeepers logo and brand. In any case, if your company does not withdraw the lawsuit against MFK by the end of this month, much of what ensues will beyond you and your company’s ability to control.
My best to you and yours,
Samuel F. LaBudde
NOTE: This draft text of a hypothetical personal communication in no way represents the position, policy or views of the Capital Cichlid Association, its affiliates or members.