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Red Bull Establishment and Success Story

Red Bull was founded in 1987 by Dietrich Mateschitz. Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz, Marketing Manager of Blendax, came across a drink consumed by locals for tiredness during a business trip to Thailand in 1982 (Altan.M., 2018). He realized that this beverage was truly energizing and had potential to expand into other markets. Therefore, he partnered with Chaleo Yoovidhya, the inventor of the beverage, and brought this Thai drink to the market, adapting it to European tastes (Altan.M., 2018).

The most important thing was to create the right strategy. So Mateschitz decided to create a marketing strategy first. He worked on Red Bull’s formula, brand positioning, packaging and marketing concept for about 3 years from 1984 to 1987. Since the production was not very costly, they gave more importance to promotion and marketing. Its target audience was primarily young people. Campaigns, competitions, events for young people and other PR work have been organized and it seems like its still being organized. At the same time, they managed to increase brand awareness by sponsoring many sport events such as formula. 

Red Bull, which has also made many works in digital, made its name mentioned many times with viral videos.

Keeping up with the Harlem Shake fashion, it created a viral video with aerial divers. Brand encouraged people to find the Red Bull Editions boxes hidden on campuses in different cities with the crate and then share them on social media. Red Bull and Clockwork were the sponsors of Turkish athlete Kenan Sofuoğlu.  With the website, you can support our national athlete with the hashtag #KenanlaTamGaz. In addition, visitors can experience the racing experience 360 degrees through Kenan Sofuoğlu’s eyes. At the same time, the CS: GO battle Red Bull Flick, which started to find the champion in March this year, continues where it left off in December. 

So why do young people make up the majority of the target audience?

Red Bull hired many people who study in schools in order to drive cars that include huge brand bottles. Students wandered  the university campuses in these cars. They also distributed Red Bull free of charge to parties and bars. Thus, the brand became popular and trendy among students. It spread through word of mouth marketing power. It used a similar persuasion tactic in the American market, and sales teams called “musketeers” began distributing energy drink for free to popular bars and clubs in America. Bartenders used Red Bull and alcohol together. When they realized that there was a great demand by customers, sales in the US suddenly rose. With its successful brand positioning and marketing efforts, it adapted to the western taste and became an international brand.

Red Bull (Photo by Michael4Wien)

Now, let us talk about the competition. Monster Energy Drink is an important competitor of Red Bull with its energy drinks portfolio. Rockstar of the Pepsico brand is also a competitor, and of course the Coca cola brand’s other competitor Burn. Lastly, Nestle and Dr. Pepper Snape are the other competitors. The three main players in the market are Red Bull as the market leader with a 43% market share, followed by Monster with 39% and Rockstar with 10% (Iris worldwide, 2018).

Have you ever thought about why Red Bull is the winner against such strong rivals? 

Their rivals are strong companies in the beverage industry, but their specialty is not energy drinks. They are experts in the food and beverage industry. They don’t earn their income from energy drinks. Their focus is not on energy drinks. But Red Bull focuses solely on the energy drink.

Another reason is; Red Bull is a beverage originating from Thailand and South Asia. Thailand is one of the places with the most dynamically populated population. Considering its being a Far Eastern company and its culture and demographic features, loyalty to the brand is quite high. Especially high compared to American consumers.

We can be entrepreneurs, businessmen or millionaires, but our character reflects on what we want to do and our dreams. Dietrich, the founder of the brand, is the only Austrian billionaire with a net worth of $ 26 billion, ranked 37th on Forbes’ 2018 World Billionaires list (Forbes, 2018). This wealth also has its own island.

Well, if you were this rich, what would you go to the island with?

Dietrich Mateschitz had a sabraine built for him to travel to and from the island and this is how he provides transportation to the island. There are many island owners, billionaires, but no one else goes to their island this way. Dietrich Mateschitz could be the only one who brought up the concepts such as sports, action, extreme, formula that come to mind when we think of Red Bull and brought this drink from Thailand. I think there is an important point underlying his success.

As of the end of 2019, Red Bull has 12,736 employees in 171 countries. I want to conclude with the words of Dietrich Mateschitz: “The market exists only if we create it, otherwise it does not exist.”


KAYAPINAR, F. Ç., & ÖZDEMİR, İ. (2016). Öğrencilerin enerji içeceği tüketim bilincinin ve alışkanlıklarının araştırılmasında bir meslek yüksekokulu örneği. Ankara Sağlık Hizmetleri Dergisi, 15(1), 1-12.

Kim, W. (2003). Debunking the effects of taurine in Red Bull Energy Drink. Nutrition Bytes, 9(1).