The Red Bull Strategy

As the fall season begins, the strenuous midterm season sneaks up on college students once again. As the leaves fall and temperature drops, more and more students stay up until the crack of dawn, indebted and chained to late-night projects and study sessions. The battle begins as students juggle with stress and sleep deprivation; however, there is still hope. In order to prevail through the challenges of the night, students crack open a can of a sweet, sugary, and caffeinated nectar: Red Bull. The refreshing and tangy taste may not be the healthiest of options but it overcomes the bane of sleep deprivation that plagues students all across universities. However, how did Red Bull become so integrated within college life in the first place? Below, we’ll be exploring not only the origins of the renowned energy drink but also the unique marketing aspects that characterize and emphasize the marketing powerhouse. 


How did it all begin? 

The wings began to grow in 1917. Founder Dietrich Mateschitz began his journey as a salesman for dish detergents and toothpaste in Australia. During a sales trip to Thailand, Mateschitz discovered an energy tonic, Krating Daengnd, and instantaneously fell in love. Inspired by its unique taste and energy-boosting qualities, the salesman conceived his own drink: Red Bull. He began to market his product to his target audience of 18-31-year-olds through Buzz Marketing: hired students would drive across college campuses to give away free samples at parties and bars. From then on, the company only continued to expand as Red Bull sponsored exclusive and exciting events that received high and free media coverage across the world. 

However, despite the stepping stone provided from Matesschitz’s marketing successes, a stigma of energy drinks continues to stand: energy drinks are unhealthy alternatives. In order to combat this notion, Red Bull takes a unique stance as they focus their energy on their creative content and experiences for the people. Through their daredevil stunts, sponsorships, social media, and unique marketing, Red Bull embodies a distinct lifestyle to showcase and inspire their target audience.  


Daredevil Stunts: Supersonic Freefall 

On October 14, 2012, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner shook the world with the world breaking space jump. Baumgartner launched from Roswell, New Mexico and entered the stratosphere in a helium balloon, jumped, and became the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall. In addition to enticing the general audience with the shock factor, this mission sought to entice a new target audience of those 35-65. The goal was to invite and emotionally inspire both the original demographic alongside athletes in their 40s. Red Bull Stratos sought to challenge the limitations of humankind and stayed true to its motto that Red Bull “gives you wings” as the skydiver flew. This content marketing stunt boosted Red Bull’s popularity and allowed the company to showcase the potentials of the drink itself. 


Sports Players 

In order to showcase the capabilities of the energy drink, Red Bull intricately weaved in athletes of all disciplines from all over the world. The vast inclusion of athletes such as basketball player Anthony Davis, paraglider Tim Alongi, skateboarder Leticia Bufoni, and even gamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, emphasizes the lifestyle enhancement that Red Bull strongly advocates for. The global array of athletes emphasizes the influence of the energy drink as well as it solidifies its potential and effects as an energy drink. In addition, by utilizing athletes, it serves to create a human connection to the audience and goes to question: If these successful athletes are drinking it, why aren’t you? 


Active Role in Social Media 

Despite the overwhelming accomplishments and sponsorships gained by Red Bull, without a strong connection within social media, Red Bull would not be as prevalent as it is today. The company maintains a stronghold on media presence as they are omnipresent in all types of platforms: Red Bull Bulletin, Red Bull TV, Red Bull mobile app, Red Bull Music Academy Radio, and Red Bull Cinema. In addition, their website showcases a vast array of past events and discover the “world of red bull” from blog posts and clips that are emphasized through professionally taken photos. 


Tribute to Old Traditions 

Nestled amongst the countless marketing tactics Red Bull employs, the company continues to stay true to their old traditions. Even now, Mini Cooper clad in the Red Bull Logo and a life-size Red Bull strapped to the back, drive around college campuses and continue to provide free Red Bulls. This allows the company to continue interpersonal engagement while simultaneously promoting its product. 


By: Jeena Bae

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