written by: Lai Ho Tin, Sky

Company Background
Red Bull has the highest market share (43% globally) among energy drinks in 2014 [1]. 6.06 billion cans of Red Bull are sold in 2016 [2]. The slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings”, serves as the brand message to target young adults and the brand is associated with extreme sports, parties and other activities and events like music festivals.

Campaign Introduction
Red Bull Can You Make It Campaign is the global event of Red Bull in 2016 and 500+ university student teams from 50+ countries across the globe have seven days to travel across Europe to complete a series of challenges with only 24 cans of Red Bull as currency. No cash, cards, device and personal phone are allowed within the seven days of challenge except a smartphone provided by the organiser for uploading of pictures and videos. It builds Red Bull as an adventurous, energetic and young brand.

The main competitor of Red Bull is Monster energy drink which also account for 43% of global market share. The slogan of Monster is “unleash the beast”, mainly targeting athletes and people who like parties. Monster seldom reaches out to the students segment. Monster also supports e-sports and extreme sporting events such as BMX and Motocross events.

Red Bull is clearly trying to expand its market coverage to university students. Students mostly possess an abundance of energy to live a fruitful life no matter in study, sports and entertainment; Red Bull is a perfectly to compliment this kind of life. Besides, university students are very likely to become a member of the middle/upper class of future. Nurturing their habit of drinking red bull is beneficial to the long-term sales and brand development of Red Bull.

The benefits to Red Bull in franchising a participative campaign like “Red Bull Can You Make It” are manifold. First, it increases the brand awareness and sales of Red Bull among university students. Most of the students may have heard about Red Bull due to its advertisement or publicity of its major extreme sports events, they may not have a good reason to actually try drinking Red Bull. The campaign is a perfect to induce first trial.

Second, tons of social media buzz is created. In every checkpoint, participants need to post a photo on Instagram with branding hashtag and product placement. Organic viral effect is kind of guarantee, to Red Bull fans, and friends, families and supporters of the participants. All of them would keep a close eye on the 7-day progress of the competition. As a result, more than 200k likes on social media are created about this campaign. Somehow the result of reaching specific target customers group via social media is more effective than traditional media coverage.

Third, the task in the checkpoint also correlates with the brand positioning of Red Bull. The challenges test the teams’ body and mind, including physical activities and problem solving abilities. The demand for speed, discipline and creativity is way more challenging than normal city-hunt games. In addition, may cultivate a vivid urge for a sip of Red Bull.

One demerit is that the campaign may be kind of remote for students from non-European countries. The same campaign has been held in Asia in 2014 and 2016 but not with the same kind of impact. Not sure if it is because of the difference in culture, Red Bull may consider to beef up the campaign outside Europe.

[1] https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-15-top-energy-drink-brands
[2] https://www.forbes.com/companies/red-bull/