My relationship with Red Bull is complicated.

While I like the drink, I know that it’s really not healthy for me.

The amount of caffeine it contains, combined with my father back home yelling at me to stop drinking it, really decreased my Red Bull consumption over the past few years. Well, perhaps I allow myself to drink it once in a while during finals week. But what Red Bull has done is quite amazing – and I’m talking social media and marketing wise!

(After Danni’s blog last week, just had to put one of these) :



Red Bull is an energy drink, which was founded in 1987 and sold by an Austrian Company named Red Bull GmbH.

Global Energy Drink Market

Energy drinks are a part of the broader soft drink category, which includes carbonated beverages, fruit and vegetable juices, bottled water, sports drinks, etc. Within this industry, consumers have been buying less soda and more energy drinks. While in the U.S. there is FDA scrutiny regarding the safety of these beverages, the sale of energy drinks (including Red Bull cans) have been increasing over the years.

Energy drinks sales have been growing, and have large market potential growth. Red Bull is sold in more than 170 countries and has recently experienced strong sales growth in India, Japan, Turkey, Scandinavia, Russia, and Brazil. The company plans to focus on continued expansion in the U.S. and in Western Europe.

While consumers are increasingly being drawn towards products that offer health benefits, clever marketing and branding will remain crucial to the success of the energy drinks’ brand worldwide – Red Bull is about the marketing after all.

Red Bull’s Market Share

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Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, and is the industry leader with a market share of 43 percent. Second to largest is the U.S. based Monster. Even the soda industry leaders want to be a part of the potential market, such as Coca Cola, who has purchased an interest in Monster.

Red Bull has increased its number of cans sold worldwide, an increase of 46 percent from 2011 to 2015. In 2016, Red Bull has sold more than 6 billion cans worldwide.

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Red Bull on Social Media

Red Bull has 47.5 million likes on its Facebook page, and 2.15 million followers on Twitter. It is known for its famous slogan and hashtag on Twitter: #GivesYouWings. Their Twitter page background features an image of an extreme sport with an athlete riding a motorcycle.

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Red Bull’s advertising and marketing strategy relies heavily on event and extreme sports sponsorship, buzz marketing, and TV ads. Its consumers are young, lively, energetic, willing to take risks, into sports activities, and lead an athletic lifestyle. Red Bull barely features any of its products on social media. Rather, the majority of its social media is dedicated to images and videos of extreme sports including sports sponsorship events. Their marketing strategy is basically focused on their ability to deliver a burst of energy.

So what makes me like Red Bull?

After having almost entirely decreased my consumption of the drink, Red Bull’s social media and marketing techniques are so engaging that it makes me want to be (or stay) a part of it! (My featured image doesn’t even include a picture of their product – their brand image is just so strong and filled with associations).

Extreme Sports Events

Red Bull’s sports events include extreme sports activities, such as: Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Rampage, Red Bull Cliff Diving, Red Bull Flugtag, etc.

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Red Bull Flugtag

Build your own home-made machine (limited by size and weight), try to make it “fly” the furthest, then crash into water – how cool is that, and yes people can watch you do it live on Youtube as well! Again this event goes well with their slogan #GivesYouWings. Though, I must say that I do feel sorry for those plunging off a 30ft deck with the hope to fly (which rarely happens), and having all their hard work being broken down to pieces within seconds after landing! But at least the contraptions are not judged only on flight distance but also on the creativity and showmanship of the whole team.

Watch the 10 top crashes on Youtube with over 1.5 million views. Some are quite funny:


And after trying the Red Bull Flugtag you’re disappointed that you were unable to fly, try suing the company for a false slogan, perhaps you’ll receive $10 to purchase more Red Bulls :-)

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  1. Really great post! Red Bull’s social media presence is one that I have definitely noticed, but I had no idea how much market share they controlled. I imagine that a large part of their success is directly related to the sorts of stunts and PR campaign you’ve described above. This is especially true considering how their product is relatively the same as its competitors’ and how the industry has so many alternative beverage options. Speaking of which, I was quite surprised to find out that Coca Cola owns part of Monster. I guess if you can’t beat them, join them!

  2. drewsimenson · ·

    Haha! Did someone really sue against the validity of the slogan?? Great post! I do believe Red Bull thrives on being the “first mover” in the “energy drink” space. But also, they make excellent use of their social media toward brand-building. The sponsored extreme sports events work really well in terms of maintaining that “extreme” brand image that feels right for this cocaine-in-a-can miracle drink [that is probably about as bad for your as cocaine!], and the events also lend themselves to lots of engaging content on social media. Cool post reminding us that Red Bull still dominates in their space.

    1. Yes they were sued by a guy named Benjamin Careathers for deceptive marketing and advertising as being a performance enhancing drink. See my last source above.

      1. drewsimenson · ·

        You know, Danna, it sounded silly as a headline, but this was actually a pretty sound legal argument: “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.”

  3. lenskubal · ·

    I absolutely loved this post. I completely agree you and think Red Bull has accomplished an incredible feat. They have completely immersed themselves in the extreme sports scene, and have grown their brand to be highly recognizable and powerful. Their market share in this industry is hard to even fathom at times, but it is not surprising when you look at all the sports they are involved in. Their advertising and marketing campaigns are insane, and they definitely catch the eye of many consumers. At times, it seems life Red Bull is more of a lifestyle brand, and not an energy drink. Their extreme brand image is only made stronger by the extreme-sport athletes they sponsor. My favorite Red Bull visual is of a motor cross Red Bull athlete riding a wave in Tahiti on a motorcycle!

    Check it out here:

    Also, our classmate Anders worked for Red Bull for a while I think. Maybe he could shed some light on this topic in class. #D

  4. Great post! (I loved the gif!!) It was really interesting to see how much RedBull relies on events and sponsorship to build their brand image, rather than on the more typical social media/content advertisement brand curation. I appreciate that they still found ways to leverage social media to promote this image by posting videos/images of their events! I also really like the point you made about their strong brand image–I didn’t realize it until you mentioned it, but a huge portion of their marketing doesn’t even feature their product, yet it’s still very effective.

  5. Nice post. Red Bull is a brand that has come up repeatedly over the years in this class. They are constantly doing interesting stuff with respect to social media.

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