How Red Bull Got Its Wings

Red Bull - marketing wizardsSource: UBC Blogs

If you’ve ever needed a pick me up after a late night, or that extra shot of energy, you’ll know all about Red Bull. It gives you wings, after all. Or at least that’s what the marketing tag line says. But you’ve also probably seen Red Bull in a number of other places. Such as plastered all over everything at extreme sporting events.

Red Bull is indeed an energy drink, but it also happens to be one of the most diverse brands in the world. The brand could be called the masters of marketing as they have a finger in dozens of pies, well beyond what would be expected of a simple drink loaded with caffeine.

So, how did this energy drink go from being something we reach for on a slow morning, to something we gulp down when enjoying a marathon gaming session at a casino online? Red Bull did sponsor a Poker tournament, after all, so the connection here is once again clear – this drink improves your performance everywhere! Or so the brand would like you to believe, and sales figures show that many people agree.

A Brief Brand History

Red Bull is a far older company than many assume. It was established in 1987, when Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an existing energy drink called Krating Daeng. The drink was sold in Thailand, but Dietrich felt that, with a little tweaking, it could be introduced to the Western world.

Red Bull spread to Hungary and Slovenia in 1992, but it was not until 10 years later that it found it’s way to the United States, and landed with a bang. Using carefree, tongue in cheek advertisements known for humour as opposed to the straight-faced approach of other brands, Red Bull quickly found a strong foothold.

After initial success, the brand spread its influence to areas well beyond what is expected of an energy drink, sponsoring extreme sporting events, and soon after purchasing a number of sports teams.

Today, Red Bull sells over 6 billion cans a year, and can be seen at everything from hockey games to extreme sporting events such as the world’s highest skydiving event.

Red Bull Marketing Magic

The Red Bull F1 team in actionSource: DNA India

Amazingly, the first real marketing ploy that garnered the brand attention was their use of ‘Red Bull Girls’. This involved attractive girls handing out free cans of Red Bull to college students, and was just the start of things to come.

It was soon after that the brand began to appear at extreme sporting events, firmly targeting the urban youth that they had identified as their target market. Initially, sponsoring events was the modus operandi, but they went on to buying up sports teams in the years that followed.

The New York Red Bulls, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull Ghana, EHC München and many more are all sports teams owned by Red Bull. However, it is their Formula 1 team that is the most popular, and since 2005 they have raced in more than 250 Grand Prix, and are now considered to be in the same league as stalwarts like Ferrari and Mercedes.

Flying High

There is no sign that Red Bull is losing steam, with all indications that the brand will continue to grow. Red Bull employs around 10,410 people, with a staggering £4 billion in revenue generated annually. Red Bull is available in 167 countries and Mateschitz, now 72 years old, is estimated to be worth about £10 billion. Not bad for an energy drink that started out with the Red Bull Girls a decade ago.

So where to from here? Given that rumours are rife that Red Bull aims to purchase a Premier League football team, it seems that the biggest advancements will be in the sporting world. But with 6 billion cans sold annually, it really seems like the brand more or less owns the energy drink industry at this point.

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