Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Red Bull Story

It’s been a long(ish) day. I have had my head down all day. So I had to reach for some stimulation to keep me going. And I reached for a can of Red Bull.

Hardly the world’s healthiest drink and a brand that has caused some controversy but I guess it’s successful because it works. It gave me a boost. It did the job. And that’s why you see so many people drinking it. Mind you the French must know something we don’t because when I turned up at a conference in Cannes and wanted a Red Bull, I couldn’t find one anywhere. Reason –it’s illegal there!

It might be ubiquitous now (well not in France) but its early marketing strategy was about being seen in the right place at the right time. I knew the then MD of Red Bull who built the brand in the UK to the success story it is now and he had very clear objectives. He wanted it to be seen as a drink that certain type of workers would drink. Night shift workers, drivers, bar and club staff, people working late and long hours in the music industry. And when he heard I was going out to work backstage on the production of The MTV Europe Music Awards, he sent over cases of Red Bull to ship out to the Awards. This was such a smart move. We were working hard and it kept us going. On the night of the awards when the production team was working hard backstage it was what we were all drinking. We stocked the fridge in our production office with Red Bull and word soon got round the backstage village that we had some. It wasn’t an official drink of the awards, no deal had been done with MTV, it was there ‘under the radar’. But bands and crew came to our fridge asking if they could take a can. The perfect environment to spread the word about the benefits of the drink. He didn’t want it to be sold out the front of the bars in those days (yet); he just wanted it sold behind the bar for the staff. And that created a buzz.

The buzz worked and now it’s everywhere. I still indulge in a can now and then but not at the level I did back then…


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