Analyzing Red Bull’s Popular Marketing Campaigns

PV Vyshnavi PV Vyshnavi
Feb 1, 2021 10 min read
Analyzing Red Bull’s Popular Marketing Campaigns

Red Bull is an Austrian beverage giant known for its unique marketing strategies and campaigns.  The company is a marketing powerhouse that is equally popular for its daring and widespread campaigns as for its main products. Red Bull is a company that started the energy drink market continues to dominate the market with more than 40% market share. For Red Bull the marketing efforts always focuses on the audience first, and then comes their selling their products.

Red Bull now leads with 24.9% share of the US energy drink market in 2019, selling more than 7.5 billion cans globally. They are able to achieve these numbers because they produce content which can be considered on par with the major publishers and also pulling off mind-blowing events making them one of the most talked about brands in the world. Red Bull is active on various social media platforms and different channels and use out of the box approaches and tactics in order to create content that is would give people the experience they would be interested in.

Instead of following a traditional approach to mass market, Red Bull has generated awareness and created a brand identity by using extreme sport event series or campaigns such as Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice and stunts like stratos space diving project and stand out on its own. The company marketing also includes multiple sports team ownership from Formula One teams like Scudera Alphatauri, Red Bull Racing; Fooball clubs like FC Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, etc. It also has many celebrity endorsements through its record label Red Bull Records.

A Brief History on Red Bull
The target audience of Red Bull
The marketing strategy of Red Bull
Red Bull’s Content Marketing Strategy
The analysis of Red Bulls marketing campaigns
The impact of these campaigns

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A Brief History on Red Bull

Red Bull is an Austrian energy drink company created in 1987, when the Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitsz was inspired by an already existing local energy drink which was sold in Thailand. The local energy drink was meant to help keep drinkers awake and alert. He took this idea, modified its ingredients to match the westerner’s taste buds, partnered with Chaleo Yoovidhya and together founded the Red Bull company in 1987 in Chakkapong, Thailand.

The product was later taken to Austria where it had its first ground breaking success in no time and soon went international after it blew up in Hungary. When the company originally started it only had only a single flavor and regular or Sugar free formulas, a line of different fruit flavors were added by 2013. The company’s slogan is “Red Bull gives you wings.” Red Bull is currently in more than 170 countries energizing the population and raising the competition along the way. According to Forbes it is also the 61stmost valuable brand in the world.

The Red Bull logo and slogan
The Red Bull logo and slogan

When Red Bull first came out, it was the first and only as back then energy drinks dint exist. And since traditional means of advertising was expensive, Red Bull had to come up with a different marketing strategy. They simply targeted their target audience which is 18 to 35 years old in different college parties, bars, coffee shops and even libraries. At these events and places the people were given free samples, which lead to the people talking and spreading the word about the product for free. Red Bull started sponsoring music festivals and sport event, campaigns and also created good quality content which got the company its fame.

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The target audience of Red Bull

In order to understand the company’s market strategy and campaigns one must understand the company’s target audience, the important role it plays and how it reaches that target audience. According to Numerator, the target audience of Red Bull is predominantly between the ages of 18 to 34 year old, both male and female, who have an average to high income, likes sports, extreme sports and athletic events. Their customers can be defined as young, independent professional with big dreams and aspirations.

Relevant information is also collected through customer surveys, field trials and focus groups, with the company ensuring that its buyer profile is consistently updated. This ensures that their strategies continue to be both relevant and effective at all times. Red Bull focuses on three significant tactics to attract its target audience:

  • Publishing quality content that is created by the marketing team in different media outlets that is consumed by their target audience.
  • Red Bull produces large scale publicity stunts that grabs attention of its audience and spreads the message of the products or company.
  • One of the most important tactic used by Red Bull is to sponsor and create events in various countries so it attracts its young audience.

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The marketing strategy of Red Bull

Red Bull has the control of over 70% of the $1.6 billion market and owes its success to the company’s intensive unconventional marketing strategies. The company bases its marketing approach around promoting a high energy philosophy for the lives of its customers, by its advertisements and campaigns it promotes a way of life more than selling its product. Red Bull also has a young target audience which consists of the millennial, gen y and gen z, know what their target audience wants and utilize it in their marketing strategy.

How marketing made Red Bull so big

Red Bull sponsors a lot of events in various countries such as Red Bull music academy in USA, parachutes in South Africa, Go karting events in Kuwait and many more from different countries in an effort to attract more target audience as they usually attends events like these. It also works with influencers in the field and shares captivating content that inspires the young audience to be more active and adventurous. By doing all of this, Red Bull captivates authentic and loyal consumers as they are usually into athletics and sport events.

Because of this effort everybody knows its slogan “Red Bull gives you wings”, as it is used across online and offline campaigns, televisions advertisements, newspapers and billboard ads. Some of their well-known strategies used for marketing are: using pickup trucks as mobile displays which were painted blue and silver with a giant can of the giant mounted on top of the vehicle. The products were designed to be eye catching and were aimed at promoting the red bull brand as youthful and slightly off the wall.

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Red Bull’s Content Marketing Strategy

The Red Bull is known for its content marketing as it is exceptionally planned. They started it with covering topics that interest their target audience which is sponsoring and advertising extreme sports, concerts and music festivals. The second is to sell their brands but not force the audience to buy their energy drink.

Their content is designed to make sure the reader enjoys the content not sells Red Bull. By doing this their audience will associate their product with the content that they love to consume. The third part of content marketing is to publish videos, blog post, pages and other types of content at different social media networking sites and channels that their target audience consumes content from.

Red Bull marketing strategy
Red Bull marketing strategy

The analysis of Red Bulls marketing campaigns

Earlier Campaigns

Red Bull first gained a lot of attention because of its “Red Bull gives you wings campaign" which initially began in the 90’s. Because of this campaign the company sold 300 million cans between the years 1996 to 2006. After this the company began to sponsor sports events of mountain biking, wind surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, kayaking, rowing, Formula 1 racing to even parkour, surfing, skating and break dancing the options were limitless and the company made use of it in campaigning its product.

Red Bull also uses music concert, programs and videogames, commercial with famed celebrities, such as Eminem and sponsoring events like Red Bull "EmSee Battle Rap championships." The company has also made history by just being the backing power to football and Formula 1 racing teams and events. For example, Sebastian Vettel's four Formula 1 championships will be combined with Red Bull Racing.

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Stratos space diving project

In the year of 2012, Red Bull hit the global headlines when it decided to try and break the record which at that time stood for 62 years.  The company sponsored an event where an Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner to free fall jump from the Earth stratosphere in a helium balloon. This project was known as the stratos project, because Baumgartner had to fly approximately 39 kilometers (24 miles) into the stratosphere over New Mexico in a helium balloon before free falling in a pressure suit and then parachuting to Earth.

After it became successful Baumgartner broke three records including being the first person to break the speed of sound during a captivating freefall that lasted for four minutes and 19 seconds. This event was live streamed through YouTube with the help of GoPro cameras and became the most viewed live stream and a mainstream media platform at that time. This event embodied the company’s slogan, the brand vision and supplied Red Bull with unique photography that would be used in its marketing campaign for years.

Red Bull Stratos space diving project

Red Bull campaigns in India

Red Bull launched a limited festival edition in 2019 which elevated the company’s marketing strategy.  The festival edition can came with a new flavor of the orange, while the company also created a contest #SpotTheCans. Where the customers had to go to their website and spot four hidden Red Bull Festival Edition cans in an impressive piece of artwork. After finding them, one could redeem the vouchers and gift cards at the Reliance Fresh and Reliance Smart stores. The energy drink giant will hosted an engaging on ground, in store and on campus activations with the help of campus interns/ambassadors to increase the marketing of the company.

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The impact of these campaigns

The stratos project generated a huge number of media attention and a media coverage worth an estimation of tens of million, which would not be possible to reach just using the traditional marketing strategy. After this project the company increased 7% of its sales in just six months generating $1.6bn and selling 5.2billion cans in the following year.

This project was successful because the company put science, engineering and a huge budget which was 1/10th of its annual global marketing budget which was $330 million to fund the project. This lead to the company to win a Sports Emmy in the category of outstanding new approach to sport event coverage. The point of this project was to inspire the youth to use their wings and try doing what they taught was impossible and push the human boundaries.

The total broadcast was over 3 hours long and the Red Bull logo was in every shot. The Stratos campaign is an extreme but excellent example of creative marketing, and the company’s commitment to the values and aesthetic that the brand created when they first got their start that makes their marketing work. Everything they create relates back to the idea of giving people and ideas wings to fly.

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