When Your Brand Becomes the Product

15 09 2008

Red Bull was founded by Dietrich Mateschitz and officially launched in 1987.  Ten years after its launch Red Bull was finally brought to the United States first being introduced in California.  In 2000 Red Bull had approximately $1 billion in worldwide sales.  In 2006 more than 3 billion cans of Red Bull were sold in over 130 countries.  Red Bull now accounts for approximately 50% of the energy drink market in the United States and up to 80% in other countries with an approximate 65% overall market share.

Those are just some quick and dirty facts about Red Bull to help frame the what is really interesting about Red Bull.  I think one of the most interesting aspects about Red Bull is how their brand has become the product (energy drinks).  Even though there are now over 150+ competitors in the energy drink space, most people I know still refer to energy drinks as Red Bull.  Red Bull is commonly mixed with Vodka and is one of the main ingredients in drinks such as Jagerbombs.  Even when a bar doesn’t offer the brand and instead uses a competitor, you will still hear people request Red Bull and Grey Goose or Red Bull and Vodka.  In my opinion this is one of the best things that can happen for a brand.  Since the brand becomes the product, the demand for the brand increases.

One of the reasons for Red Bull’s success, besides being the first to this niche market, is how good they are at buzz marketing.  Red Bull sponsors events such as windsurfing, snowboarding, cliff-diving, break dancing, art shows, music concerts, video games and several other sporting/social events.  Red Bull also hosts the Red Bull Flugtag which can be best understood by watching this video:

So what can we learn from Red Bull? Of course, most of us can’t afford to sponsor extreme sporting events, art shows or the like but we can do things differently than the rest of our competition.  Try to be the first one there.  If not, then do it differently then those before you.  Try new things.  Explore new options.  Don’t do the usual.  Don’t be like everyone else.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Be interesting.

Red Bull is known for always trying to market their brand differently in new and creative ways.  It is because of this that the brand has not failed or fallen off even though it is now in an extremely competitive space.

Now I turn it over to you – what are other products that you can think of where the brand has become the product?  I can think of a few but am interested in others thoughts.

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Photo by Dawn Ashley

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One response

21 09 2008
VNL

Having your product become synonymous with your brand is good to a certain extent. Yes, it shows that you have the consumer’s share of mind, but you also risk becoming generic, like “Kleenex” or “Band-Aid”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark

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