User-generated content can be a landmine for brands, even when they're not advertising around it.
An internet meme called “Kyle”–which is rising in popularity as a representation of white male aggression–does not bode well for Monster Energy drink, investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI warned on Friday.
For example, in this comedic video highlighted by AdAge, two "Kyles" - aggressive, not-so-smart white kids - are shown enjoying (and destroying) Monster Energy drinks, as well as "Mtn Dew, Axe body spray and Fireball whiskey".
“Entertainment factor aside, the meme illustrates one of our biggest concerns around Monster Energy’s competitive position and brand equity in the U.S.; that the Monster brand may be less appealing to young, mainstream consumers who are looking for lifestyle brands with which they closely identify,” Evercore stated.... “We worry that the Monster brand may start to either be seen as ‘your father’s energy drink’ or a drink for people that see Kyle as a role model.”
There's nothing Monster, or any of the brands used as props in the video, could do about this. However, a trained (and certified) Brand Safety Officer needs to be able to deal with these types of external shocks. That's why our curriculum includes a module dealing with brand reputation.