Red Bull loses its wings with Red Bull Editions

Guest post by David Nichols, Managing Partner of the brandgym, and Head of Invention

In a blog not too
long ago here, I enthused about how far ahead in marketing activation Red Bull were
with their audacious sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s extraordinary space
jump. However, with the global roll-out of their ‘Editions’ cranberry, lime and blueberry flavours, it seems they've lost their ability to fly. The launch appears to be a rather pedestrian affair, devoid of any brand icons, tone, style or even any red bulls! 

Extend the Red Bull core range is potentially a good way to grow the core: a) recruit people who don’t
like the taste of classic Red Bull;  b)
Increase consumption occasions for people who love it but also drink other
flavoured soft drinks  c) Increase
shelf presence/fridge space.  But
their execution begs some pretty fundamental questions…

RB Editions Basic ad
Straight off, ‘where is the
brand?’  The iconic Red Bulls are
not on pack.  The Editions packs look,
in fact, a bit like private label low-cost copies of Red Bull.  The strapline of ‘Wings for all tastes’
is OK, but ‘The taste of Cranberry, Lime & Blueberry with the
effect of Red Bull’ is a bit long-winded. 

Go onto Redbull’s Facebook page where all
its amazing activation is proudly presented, in a dizzying array of digital
savvy sports coolness and where are Editions?  Nowhere to be seen. 
It’s as if they are embarrassed to show them.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 14.37.13
Red Bull has led
the world in creating ownable activation properties that evolve and build a
fanbase, creating unique content along the way.  Why not for Editions? 
Could they not have created Editions specific activations? What
activations have they done so far? 
Dispenser girls and choose your favourite on Instagram.  It feels like it’s being marketed by
someone else.

RB Editions Activation

How could Red Bull give Editions the wings
to fly?

  • Put the brand on pack: Editions are a new part of the brand and
    so should have the core brand icons on pack. The classic Red Bulls (in their
    flying colours) should continue to be the strongly visual shorthand for the
    brand’s offer.
  • Build unique activation properties around
    .  Build Editions into existing activation
    properties: e.g. 3 X-Fighter acrobatic flying teams in flavour colours battling it out.  Or each sponsored sports star shown drinking
    their fave flavour… Bring Editions into the heart of the awesome Red Bull marketing
    machine to drive awareness, trial and repurchase. 
  • Give Editions Wiiiiings: The heart of their brand idea is the
    uplifting idea of being given wings, not the dull function of the ‘Red Bull
    effect’.  They have shown us this
    again and again in wingsuit flights,
    space leaps, motorcross jumps, air races and so much more.  Give Editions some of this magic. We
    want you to divert, dazzle & daunt us with Editions.


Red Bull have built
one of the world’s best brands through audacious and code breaking
marketing.  It seems that in
launching a core range extension, they have overlooked the basics and risk confusing consumers, undermining their relationships with retailers and diluting their
brand.  It’s still early days, so
if it is beginning to sell in volume, they can fix it, and give it wings after
all.  Editions is on the Launchpad,
but still awaiting fuel.