Red Bull The Anti-brand Brand Co-Authors Tavssoli, N & Linguri by dfhercbml


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									                     Red Bull: The Anti-brand Brand

Co-Authors: Tavssoli, N. & Linguri, S.

Date: 2005


Founded in Austria in 1984, Red Bull was credited with creating the energy
drinks category. In 2004, the worldwide energy drinks category was worth
2.5 billion euros and Red Bull commanded a 70% market share. Sold in over
100 markets, Red Bull was the market leader in the USA as well as in 12 of
the 13 West European markets where it was present. Central to Red Bull’s
success was the use of word-of-mouth or ‘buzz’ marketing. Through its
sponsorship of youth culture and extreme sports events, it developed a cult
following among marketing-wary Generation Y-ers, (18- to 29-year olds) who
perceived it as an anti-brand. While it purported to be a sports drink, Red
Bull was mostly sold in clubs and bars as an alcohol mixer, where its caffeine
doses helped revive clubbers into the early morning hours. By playing on
associations with energy, danger and youth culture, Red Bull carefully
cultivated its mystique, which earned it nicknames like ‘liquid cocaine’. The
company used additional non-traditional marketing techniques, such as
consumer education teams who drove around handing out free cans of Red
Bull to those in need of energy, and student brand managers who promoted
the product on university campuses. In 2004, Red Bull found itself at a
crossroads, challenged with defending its market share. It faced a maturing
market and an onslaught of competitive brands, some of them promoted by
beverage industry giants such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, others as private
labels by mass retailers such as Asda (part of Wal-Mart). Red Bull needed to
determine whether it was outgrowing its anti-establishment status. As a
mature brand, it needed to assess whether the time had come to transition
to a more traditional marketing approach. But this raised a critical question:
would this move toward a more mainstream approach fundamentally destroy
Red Bull’s anti-brand mystique?

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