Red Bull Advertising Case Study

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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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After years of standing by as their competitors introduced dozens of new flavors, category creator Red Bull was finally ready to launch the Red Bull Editions, a line of cranberry, lime and blueberry flavored drinks. Their issue? The products tasted so good consumers didn’t believe they could possibly be as effective. We had to convince them that these delicious new products delivered the same Red Bull “oomph”. And we had to anchor the dramatically different new packaging in their minds, since Red Bull had long ago become synonymous with their blue and silver can.


The energy drink category is rife with lifestyle imagery and the convention of borrowing the thrills and adrenaline from extreme sports and wrapped these “experiences” around their products. With the Editions effort, we set out to let the packaging itself deliver the promise of giving consumers “wings”. Using murmurations, the mesmerizing flight of migrating starlings as inspiration, we created marketing that broke the rules by showing our brilliant new cans in synchronous flight for the entire length of our videos - and without a single skateboarding or snowboarding hipster anywhere to be found.

High Impact Takeovers


Online videos promoting the product line delivered an impressive 79% completion rate. And those views produced sales—specifically $150 million in just six months. Moreover, our videos, which were specifically created for online, ended up running in digital outdoor and national broadcast TV, including during the NBA Finals.

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