Red Bull's Innovative Marketing: Transforming a Humdrum Product into a Happening Brand

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG141
Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 2001-2006
Organization : Red Bull GmbH
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Austria, UK, USA
Industry : Beverages

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Elements of Red Bull's Marketing Strategy

Red Bull was generally acknowledged by marketing experts to be a good example of an ordinary product of uncertain worth that was transformed into a powerful brand through innovative marketing.

The emphasis Red Bull placed on marketing was evident from the fact that the company spent around 30 percent of its annual turnover on marketing - much higher than most other beverage manufacturers who spent approximately 10 percent. Red Bull was positioned as an energy drink that 'invigorated mind and body' and 'improved endurance levels'.

The company's slogan 'Red Bull gives you wiiings' reinforced this positioning. The beverage was targeted at people who sought increased endurance, speed, concentration and alertness (Refer Table I for the 'benefits' of Red Bull as claimed by the company)...


Red Bull had been a controversial product right from the start.

When Mateschitz first planned to launch the beverage in Europe, he had to wait for three years to get approval in Austria, his home country.

After that, it took another five years before it could be sold internationally, and Hungary became Red Bull's first foreign market in 1992. Red Bull's launches in new markets were almost always preceded by controversy, usually centering on the nature of the ingredients in the drink.

While exotic ingredients were acceptable in many Asian markets where food regulations were not stringent, in Europe, the beverage faced difficulties in getting approval from the authorities. As of 2006, Red Bull was banned in France and Denmark. In Norway, it was classified as a medicine that could only be sold in pharmacies.

The most controversial ingredient in Red Bull was taurine. Taurine, an acidic chemical substance, was an untested food product in many western countries and was thought by some to be harmful. The controversies were further fuelled by rumors that taurine was actually derived from the bile of bulls...

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