ed Bull is another huge brand that used very good marketing techniques over time to grow its brand and make it famous worldwide. Every advert created by Red Bull is associated with its famous slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” through which they try to define to the customer the high content of energy offered by this drink.
However, in 2013 their slogan was about to be tested by a customer who felt that the slogan represents false advertising. Benjamin Carethers, a man from America, believed that the slogan is dishonest and therefore sued the company on the accusation of false advertising!
The Drink Won’t Give You Wings
Now to get the story straight, Benjamin never expected to actually grow wings as he knew the slogan was metaphorically used to represent the high content of energy that the energy drink has to offer.
The misleading part which Benjamin used in the lawsuit was that the energy drink does not offer as much energy as advertised, as a 250ml can of Red Bull has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
The judge that was present at the hearing agreed with Benjamin’s viewpoint:
“Such deceptive conduct and practices mean that [Red Bull’s] advertising and marketing is not just ‘puffery,’ but it instead deceptive and fraudulent and it therefore actionable,” the lawsuit stated.
Red Bull had always marketed their product as a “superior source of energy”, in other words stating that their drink is the best and most efficient. In such a case we can view the branding used by Red Bull as the same sort of marketing used by Duracell batteries.
They both claim that they are the very best on the market by offering the most efficient product (not necessarily price-wise). The credibility in both instances is grown by the consumers within the market itself, however, it is the responsibility of the company to curate such credibility appropriately based on the product’s description.
Red Bull Still Believed in Its Wings
Even with the evidence on the table down to a scientific point, Red Bull never pled guilty as they believed that this is just one unsatisfied customer. This is one of the biggest mistakes that Red Bull could have made, as I believe they don’t understand “the power of the customer.”
It will never matter how many customers we are talking about nor how big the company in which the customer is facing in wrongdoing is as this time (and just like the most) “the customer is always right.”
What huge companies such as this one are forgetting is the power that the customer has, especially in this digital era where your company can be terminated with just one click or better said, share.
Even so, Red Bull kept their own beliefs, stating that none of its marketing is dishonest:
“Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. However, Red Bull maintains that its marketing and labeling have always been truthful and accurate, and denies any and all wrongdoing or liability,” the company officially stated in August 2013.
In 2015 when the lawsuit ended, customers received $13 million in compensation.
The energy drink market is in a very rapid growth stage, where many new entries are taking over. The importance of marketing in this market is super vital, as it isn’t the actual content of the product that attracts the consumer, but the actual package and the associations made by the brand itself.
A new trend has appeared with many energy drinks coming in the form of powder (Sneak) and stating that they’re a more healthy choice than the classic (Red Bull).
It’s not only the point of buying more for less but the better marketing used to attract the exact segment of the market that uses such a product. That is a market segment that is growing more than ever: the gamers.
Red Bull still believes they are in a way like Coca-Cola. They have been the leaders of the market for many years, being one of the first energy drink brands, but they need to understand that customers change which creates a butterfly effect of having new trends as well as new demands on the market. Such an “ego” can be seen as a two-edged sword as it can attract a lot of attention. However, that does not necessarily mean positive attention.