The 13 Million Story Behind Red Bull’s 3 i’es Tagline

Kinnary Nensee Kinnary Nensee
Jul 19, 2022 5 min read
The 13 Million Story Behind Red Bull’s 3 i’es Tagline

Red Bull GmbH is an Austrian company that was launched in 1987. It traces its origin back to a similar drink that was called Krating Daeng. Krating Daeng was introduced in Thailand in 1976 by pharmacist Chaleo Yoovidhya.

He pitched the product as an energy booster that increased productivity and marketed it toward labourers and students. His advertising campaign included sponsoring various Thai sporting events like Muay Thai.

Dietrick Mateschitz was just another traveller on business in Thailand when he purchased and drank Krating Daeng. He claims it cured his jet lag. He sought to meet Yoovidhya and create a business partnership with him.  

Together, they formulated a product that would suit the taste of Westerners, and Red Bull GmbH was born. They founded the company in 1984 in Salzburg, Austria.

Mateschitz, while branding the drink, used the English meaning of the Thai name. Daeng means Red and Krating is a large species of wild bovine native to the Indian subcontinent (known in English as a gaur or Indian bison).

It was in August of 1987 that the first can of RedBull, as we know it today, was sold in Austria. It was re-positioned as a trendy and premium drink and introduced at a ski resort in Austria. Krating Daeng remained available as a lower-cost product.

The company continued to expand and the drink entered the United Kingdom and Germany markets in 1994, the United States in 1997 and the Middle East in 2000 and continues to grow.

Over the years, RedBull has added many variations to the energy drink, based on the same formula but offering different flavours and colours. It began with a sugar-free version in 2003 called RedBull Sugarfree and added variants like RedBull Zero, RedBull Total Zero and RedBull Energy Shot.  

In 2013, RedBull began offering different flavours with the launch of RedBull Editions. Initially available in cranberry, lime and blueberry, it added various other flavours, some of which are available only during certain seasons or in specific countries.

In 2018, Organics by RedBull was launched with a line of organic sodas in flavours of bitter lemon, ginger ale, tonic water, and a new version of a cola called Simply Cola.

Red Bull is one of the most popular beverage brands that are famous for its drink and its tagline "Red Bull gives you Wiiings". But this tagline cost Red Bull nearly 13 million. Let's understand the complete story behind Red Bull's 3 i'es.

Marketing Campaigns by RedBull
The Famous Tagline of Red Bull
The Court Case Citing False Marketing by Red Bull
Why Did Red Bull Add Extra ‘ii’ in Its Tagline?

Marketing Campaigns by RedBull

It was in 1997 that RedBull commercials were released bearing its now famous slogan “RedBull Gives you Wiiings”.

Being advertised as an energy drink worldwide, RedBull has used extreme sports as its advertising vehicle of choice. It began sponsoring athletes in 1989, focusing on sports like Formula One racing and extreme sports like windsurfing and hang gliding.

Red Bull Motorsports
Red Bull Motorsports

It later expanded into sponsoring mainstream sports like MotoGP, Mountain Biking, Skateboarding, Kayaking, Rowing, Cliff Diving, Basketball and Soccer. It has also held sponsorships in Esports.

The Famous Tagline of Red Bull

“RedBull Gives you Wiiings” became that slogan that gained significant ground for the company through its effective marketing strategy. It added an air of mystery to a drink that is, basically, a carbonated drink containing sugar, caffeine and other ingredients that add flavour and colour.

Red Bull Tagline
Red Bull Tagline

This genius slogan boosted the energy drink into a global phenomenon as a vitalising energy booster drink. The idea of the drink ‘giving you wings’ was metaphorical and illustrated the energy boost that an individual would receive after consumption. However, there is no saying when something can be misconstrued. And that is exactly what happened in the case of RedBull.

The Court Case Citing False Marketing by Red Bull

After twenty years of seeing the circle of success, much of it based on its clever slogan, RedBull fell prey to its own ingenuity and gallantry. How the genius of the marketing slogan “RedBull gives you wiiings” was called into question is a 13-million-dollar story.

A US citizen named Benjamin Carethers questioned – “Why doesn’t RedBull give me wings?”  He sued the company for ‘false advertising. He claimed that after 10 years of drinking Red Bull, he had neither grown wings nor had seen any athletic or intellectual enhancement in his performance.

His claim read - “Even though there is a lack of genuine scientific support for a claim that Red Bull branded energy drinks provide any more benefit to a consumer than a cup of coffee, the Red Bull defendants persistently and pervasively market their product as a superior source of ‘energy’ worthy of a premium price over a cup of coffee or other sources of caffeine.”

As per the consumer court documents that were filed in the New York Federal Court, the officials of the energy drink chose to settle with Benjamin Carethers. Red Bull also agreed to pay cash up to $10 to all the people who purchased Red Bull in the last decade, instead of cash customers also had an option to go with two Red Bull products worth $15. The complete payout was capped at no more than $13 million.

Why Did Red Bull Add Extra ‘ii’ in Its Tagline?

Red Bull had learned a hard lesson. They also realized that their marketing slogan was catchy and the tagline had gathered global attention that was driving their sales.

So, in a bid to keep their tagline intact, they added two ‘ii’s to their word wings. And that is how the slogan became – “RedBull Gives you Wiiings”.  That is how a successful business works.


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Conclusion

Red Bull continues to grow and expand. It now owns football teams with clubs in Austria, Germany, the United States and Brazil. The company enlisted Adrian Newey in 2010 to design a prototype racing car called the RedBull X2010. This was for the video game Gran Turismo 5. Earlier this year, Red Bull announced the full production of a hypercar called RB17, also designed by Adrian Newey.  

FAQs

Who created the slogan Red Bull gives you wings?

Dietrich Mateschitz and his team created the popular tagline in the 1980s.

What is the story behind Red Bull's slogan?

Red Bull was sued for false advertising by a customer Benjamin Carethers. Red Bull settled the case and had to pay around $13 million.

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