The Mighty Red Bull in the World of Marketing Analysis

Table of Content

Established in 1984 by Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull GmbH is a multinational company that was inspired by Mateschitz’s encounter with the original energy drink, Krating Daeng, in Thailand. Red Bull has gained worldwide recognition for its ability to enhance focus, concentration, and metabolism stimulation (Bized, 2008).

According to Mintel (2005), Red Bull is the top-selling energy drink worldwide, with annual sales surpassing one billion cans and capturing a 60% share of the global market in terms of volume. In the U.K., Red Bull’s sales volume increased from 85 million liters in 2003 to 113 million liters in 2005 (Mintel, 2005). The introduction of the sugar-free variety in 2004 significantly contributed to the brand’s value sales and solidified its position as the leading drink in its category (Mintel, 2005). Red Bull is categorized as a soft drink due to its absence of alcohol.

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Red Bull, priced at 1.05 Pounds in the U.K., is considered a premium product that stands out from other energy drinks due to its quality and positive effects. It surpasses its competitors, like Lucozade, which offers various flavors in the energy drink market (Drawert). Mateschitz focused on below-the-line marketing tactics, especially viral marketing or word of mouth, to effectively promote the brand (Arlidge, 2004).

Red Bull sponsors a variety of events including windsurfing, snowboarding, cliff diving, break dancing, art shows, music concerts, video games, and other sporting and social events (Redbulletin, 2008). They offer four products: the original Red Bull can, a sugar-free version aimed at women, Red Bull cola, and Red Bull Energy Shots. The perception, attitudes, and reference groups of consumers are used to analyze their behavior towards Red Bull’s marketing activities.

In the beginning, Krating Daeng was consumed by factory workers and drivers in Thailand to stay awake during late working hours. However, when Red Bull was established by Mateschitz, the target audience shifted from factory workers to young professionals (Bized, 2008). Through innovative marketing strategies and minor product changes, Red Bull successfully positioned itself as a trendsetter and globally recognized brand among consumers (Arlidge, 2004).

Consumer perception is the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting physical sensations such as sights, sounds, and smells (Solomon et al., p. 56). Red Bull influenced consumer perception through various activities like sampling and event sponsoring. They used Red Bull-branded cars to distribute energy drinks to individuals who needed a boost such as shift workers, truck drivers, and athletes. Additionally, they sponsored large-scale extreme sports events and competitions (Stefani, 2008; Kumar & Linguri; Desource; 2008). Spotting a Red Bull car stimulated consumers’ sense of sight.

The car was a combination of blue and silver colors, which matched the product itself. Additionally, a life-size red bull can was mounted on the car, generating initial interest and curiosity about the product. The sense of touch was engaged by distributing free red bull cans to the public. Rexam, one of the largest suppliers of beverage cans globally, earned $22 million from sales of Red Bull cans worth $147 million. The unique size and weight of the can, 8.3 ounces (235 grams) (Bized, 2008), created a sense of novelty for consumers compared to standard-sized cans.

Red Bull was one of the first to enter the energy drink market. Despite initial negative reactions to its taste, Red Bull’s innovative campaigns, including sponsoring extreme sports events and giving out freebies at sporting events, helped promote both their brand and a specific lifestyle. Consumers were attracted to this lifestyle and developed a preference for the drink due to its energy-boosting effects. Through extensive publicity and ongoing events and competitions, Red Bull established a strong brand image that captured consumer attention. This allowed for significant engagement with the brand, transforming it into more than just a product and distinguishing it from other energy drinks on the market. Moreover, Red Bull employed animated television commercials with the message – Red Bull Gives You Wings.

The advertisements use figurative language to show that drinking Red Bull gives consumers a substantial amount of energy, creating curiosity about the product. This enhances the initial impression of the product in consumers’ minds. Targeting the younger generation is advantageous for Red Bull as this group tends to be rebellious and nonconformist when selecting brands.

Red Bull effectively communicates its qualities, making it a suitable option for its target audience. This is evident in the diverse range of individuals who use Red Bull, as they rely on its utility and the advantages it offers as an energy drink. Nigel Trood, Red Bull UK’s managing director, states that people choose Red Bull when they require an energy boost, whether it be to combat fatigue or enhance concentration. Overall, Red Bull strives to be consumers’ preferred choice when seeking an energy boost.

“It is very much about people using it in lots of different ways…” (Goliath 2008). The Red Bull brand, with its slogan ‘Red Bull gives you wings,’ encompasses the various ways in which it can be utilized, appealing to the utilitarian function of the product. The consumption of Red Bull leads to an energized and alert feeling, satisfying consumers and generating a positive attitude towards the product. Moreover, the Red Bull brand specifically targets the Generation Y demographic, consisting of individuals born between the 1980’s and 1990’s (Bitze, 2008).”

When studying some of their characteristics, it becomes apparent that the value-expressive attitude is specifically tailored to appeal to Gen Y consumers. These consumers are known for being hip, cool, and trendy, as well as influential opinion leaders who willingly spend significant amounts of money on products that are perceived as popular. This consumer behavior allows them to establish a sense of uniqueness and self-identity. Red Bull recognizes this and places a strong emphasis on engaging with this consumer group through their involvement in social activities. One such example is the Red Bull Street Style competition, an annual event that takes place in various countries worldwide.

Contestants are selected to represent their country and the winner is crowned the Red Bull Street Style Champion for that year. The audience’s strong passion for these events gives the product a unique status compared to its competitors (Red Bull, 2009) (Solomon et al., 2006, p. 139). The Red Bull Street Style – London Final (Red Bull, 2009) showcases the consumer’s attitude as a mental or neutral state of readiness that influences their response to various objects and situations, shaped through experience (G.

According to Allport (1935, p. 810), the ABC model is used to illustrate the beliefs, behavior, and affects that consumers experience when purchasing a product. Red Bull targets individuals between the ages of 16 and 35 who are active, sporty, and hardworking. This demographic is at an experimental stage in life, seeking new experiences and being influenced by ethical groups ( (Solomon, et al., 2006, p. 140).

Instead of relying on traditional advertising methods, Mateschitz chose to prioritize Buzz marketing. Red Bull opted for influential individuals within communities to promote the brand’s message in places where the target audience could be reached. This approach effectively generated initial awareness and interest in the energy drink by promptly informing consumers about its benefits. Furthermore, free samples were distributed to enable consumers to evaluate and form their own opinions based on personal experience with the product.

Red Bull enhances its brand reputation by organizing diverse events that enable consumers to actively connect with their product. These engagements hold immense significance in influencing the consumer’s decision-making process, ultimately resulting in purchases or participation in the brand’s extensive range of activities. Buzz advertising, also referred to as “word of mouth” marketing, efficiently generates consumer engagement by motivating individuals to exchange information and experiences with others within their communities. This tactic has been executed on a large scale.

One of their techniques involved hiring university students as brand managers and providing them with free cases of Red Bull for parties. This led to a positive attitude towards the brand among this specific target segment (Kumar. Linguri) (Solomon, et all, 2006, p 140-141). Additionally, the product was introduced in clubs and bars, where the sales team convinced resellers to sell the energy drink. This strategy helped the brand gain recognition and immediate attention (Kenneth Hein, 2001).

Red Bull quickly became a popular beverage in these locations, often used as a mixer with other alcoholic drinks. This further boosted the brand’s popularity as consumers enjoyed the energizing and active effects it provided throughout the night. This lifestyle, which was characterized by risk and unpredictability, resonated well with Red Bull’s target audience. 4. Reference Groups: Red Bull consistently encourages consumers to associate themselves with a variety of activities, primarily related to various sports.

In this section, we will delve into the world of the ‘Red Bulletin’ – a magazine specifically designed for an active and driven audience who aim to be a part of this vast community. Not only is this magazine available online, but it is also distributed monthly with England’s ‘The Independent’ newspaper. The ‘Red Bulletin’ showcases various sports events and projects organized by Red Bull, providing insight into their stories and announcing competition winners.

Red Bull is known for its emphasis on brand management and goes beyond just sponsoring sports events; they take complete ownership of the event, giving them control over how their brand is associated with the sport (Russell, 2009). The Red Bulletin, their magazine, doesn’t use celebrities as brand ambassadors but rather focuses on featuring stories of competition winners in a dedicated section called ‘Heroes’. These are regular people who have achieved success through hard work, just like anyone else.

Using “real” people instead of celebrities is more realistic and persuasive. It causes consumers to identify more with the brand, resulting in a higher level of involvement. Red Bull’s marketing strategy revolves around selling an experience and a lifestyle by incorporating different local cultures. This encourages individuals to be seen as a Red Bull “Hero” (Redbulletin, 2008) (Solomon, et al., 2006, p. 351). In 2008, introduced a new technological development called Red Bulletin Print 2.0.

When the magazine is placed in front of a web camera connected to the internet, additional information related to the article will be displayed on top of the magazine. To experience this, only a web camera, web browser, and Red Bulletin Magazine are required. The incorporation of this technology encourages consumers to engage with the brand, providing them with an overall captivating experience (Red Bulletin, 2009). Red Bull maintains an active forum on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where various events, online/offline competitions, and games are organized for brand enthusiasts.

Facebook organized an event called the Red Bull Stash, which involved hiding the Red Bull Energy Shot product in different places nationwide for people to discover. Fans of Red Bull were instructed to visit Facebook and input their postal code to receive hints about nearby secret locations. The brand urged fans to share their adventures, upload pictures and videos of their experience, and mention the names of those who successfully completed the competition along with their completion time. The ultimate reward was a trip to New York City to attend Red Bull’s renowned b-boy contest (Facebook, 2009).

Red Bull has a strong presence in the F1 Racing community. They have their own team and also sponsor young drivers through the Red Bull Junior Team. By recruiting David Coulthard, a former McLaren driver, as their team leader, they aim to create a positive image of their brand among F1 race fans and followers of Coulthard. This strategy is value-expressive as F1 Racing is a popular global sports event that attracts a large audience who idolize its drivers. When consumers hear about Red Bull’s involvement in F1 Racing, they start associating themselves with the characteristics of an F1 racer and aspire to be like them by purchasing Red Bull products (F1complete, Solomon et al., p. 351) (Red Bull Racing, 2006).

Red Bull’s success can be attributed to its strategic marketing approach and its ability to position itself as the leading energy drink. The brand has created a strong image associated with an adrenaline rush, which resonates positively with consumers. In every sporting sector it enters, Red Bull ensures it maintains total control and ownership, from obtaining the Formula 1 team to organizing extreme sports like Air Races, Music Events, and Rock Climbing, among others.

The company has successfully maintained an unconventional, edgy, and enthusiastic brand image. Although it should consider targeting the older age group, the current strategy has been financially successful. However, the company owes its overall success to the Generation Y consumer category. Additionally, the advertising campaign, featuring the catchy slogan “Red Bull gives you wings,” has effectively contributed to the brand’s witty image.

The company has become proficient in the buzz marketing strategy, recognizing the importance of engagement to generate excitement, which has always been a goal (Kumar. Linguri). In the last ten years, numerous energy drinks have emerged aiming to challenge Red Bull’s dominant market position. Consequently, the company responded by implementing an even more assertive marketing campaign in specific areas.

According to Red Bull (2009), the company asserts that it provides diverse health advantages such as enhancing performance, concentration, speed, and metabolism stimulation. It can be inferred that the company’s marketing efforts have effectively positioned it as the most prosperous energy drink in the market. This accomplishment can be credited to the company’s clever marketing tactics and consumers’ favorable perception of its brand image.

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