Finally social networking Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace have become useful for something other than posting meaningless thoughts and viewing funny babies. In order to garner support for his valiant cause against the corporate giant Hansen Beverage Co., Matt Nadeau, co-owner of Rock Art Brewery out of Vermont, gathered support from the Internet and various other sources.
According to an MSNBC article, Nadeau’s brewing company, Rock Art, has been steadily brewing its famous beer “Vermonster,” known for its high alcohol content and intense flavor, for a while until Vermonster’s catchy name caught the eye of the Hansen Beverage Co., maker of the popular Monster energy drink. Hansen, in a claim of pure corporate audacity, claimed that the name Vermonster “(will) undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion and/or dilute” Hansen’s trademark Monster energy drink. With this, it ordered Rock Art to “cease and desist” the production of Vermonster, a notion at which Nadeau scoffed.
With this frivolous threatening and bullying, corporate entities such as Hansen develop the gall that make them think they can do whatever they want to the little guy. Luckily, Nadeau had the tenacity to stand up against corporate America. Hansen did not expect this resistance from Nadeau and company, so it persisted, threatening frivolous lawsuits that would have bankrupted Nadeau if he attempted to fight back in court.
In order to collect support, Nadeau posted on his Web site the battle cry, “Rock Art Brewery vs. Corporate America.” Other beer drinkers and people with a general distaste for corporate bullying followed suit with a former Hansen/Monster consumer stating on Twitter that “… I’ve stopped buying all Hansen/Monster products until you back off on rockartbrewery.” Another supporter wrote on Twitter, “Cheering for David v. Goliath.”
Along with these modern day Sons of Liberty, Nadeau got his message to the whole global network with a viral video on YouTube stating his plight, and that he would not give up, no matter the cost.
Nadeau’s wielding of the techno-media, stores in Vermont boycotting Monster energy drinks, and a never-give-up-attitude allowed him to “beat” Hansen.
In a settlement resulting from Nadeau’s creative supporters and the Internet, Hansen and Rock Art Brewing Company agreed on a deal with a few stipulations. Hansen would no longer pursue Nadeau and his Vermonster beer as long as Rock Art never entered the energy drink business, which he never intended anyway.
So, the next time you gulp down that Monster before your 9 a.m. class, think of the small brewing company that beat Hansen down with the Internet and old-fashioned support. Hansen may have deep pockets, but Monster is part of a lifeless corporation that in this case succumbed to overwhelming support.
Danny Peters is a junior psychology major from Fort Worth.