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Red Bull goes to great lengths to build a brand. We see Red Bull everywhere. It’s a marketing powerhouse. But is all the money it spends sponsoring extreme sports or enabling adrenaline all to sell more cans of energy drink?

Dropping a man from outer space, powering an F1 team, hosting an annual cliff diving competition…Red Bull goes to great lengths to build a brand. We see Red Bull everywhere. It’s a marketing powerhouse. But is all the money it spends sponsoring extreme sports or enabling adrenaline all to sell more cans of energy drink? 

Yes. Over 7.5b billion cans annually to be exact. 

Red Bull uniquely spends exclusively on marketing and brand building rather than a product. A product that has barely changed since launch. They try to land as a feature story on the front cover of Sports Illustrated rather than paying for an ad on the back cover, as articulated in a Harvard MBA review

With that, here are some of its biggest outlays in the name of brand building. 

To start, Red Bull Formula 1 owns two teams. Red Bull doesn’t just sponsor the team but has owned them since 2005. Annually, running an F1 team costs the company US304m in 2019, not including the outlay to sponsor all cars and merchandise.

Then there’s the famous Felix Baumgartner mission. Red Bull spent US$30m dropping the Austrian daredevil 39km down from the atmosphere in 2012. The company was responsible for developing and testing all the technology used in the mission. When broadcast, it was the most viewed live stream at the time. Their sales rose by 13% in the following year generating hundreds of millions in revenue.

Interestingly, one of the best-performing stocks since the turn of the century is Monster Beverages. Also operating in the energy drink space. Since 2000, the stock is up 104,500%.


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