JKR's Champions of Design series, examines the history of some of the worlds most recognised brands. In this particular article, they feature the history and success of Red Bull. It's an absolutely fascinating story! Enjoy!
In the 1970s, Red Bull was being marketed at farmers, construction workers and truck drivers in Thailand. Krating Daeng (‘Red Bull’ in Thai) was a populist drink for the working man: one that allowed you to overcome fatigue, pull a double shift, or drive all night.
Red Bull’s evolution from quirky local drink to global mega-brand is a master-class in how to execute a brilliantly joined-up communications idea across big-idea events. But it’s also a lesson in the value of restraint and sensitivity. When Mateschitz decided to launch ‘Krating Daeng’ in Austria, he was careful to retain the iconography of the brand, leaving its charging bulls virtually untouched. He recognised, perhaps, that a sense of the ‘foreign’, the exotic, the quirky and the doubtless potent would be positive associations for a new energy drink brand.
Thanks to Red Bull, its co-owner, Dietrich Mateschitz is the richest man in Austria.
Red Bull owns four football teams (based in Leipzig, Salzburg, New York and Campinas in Brazil) and two F1 outfits. Its F1 operation is said to cost the company half a billion dollars annually.
Red Bull racing hold the record for the fastest ever pit stop, timed at 1.923 seconds at the Austin GP in 2013.
As well as its famous extreme sport sponsorship, the company also promotes a paper airplane tournament called Red Bull Paper Wings.