Red Bull UK MD Nigel Trood reveals marketing plans, how he feels about competitors and what's top of his business agenda.
Red Bull energy drink has always been more than just a hot secret for the night owl and the non-stop party animal. Developed to improve performance, increase concentration and reaction speed, improve vigilance and stimulate metabolism, it is appreciated throughout the world by top athletes, busy professionals and drivers on long journeys.
We spoke to Red Bull UK managing director, Nigel Trood.
The original idea emerged in 1984 and was launched in 1987 with the slogans ‘Red Bull vitalises body and mind’ and ‘Red Bull gives you wings’.
Sales in Austria doubled year to year and in 1994 the drink was launched in Germany with international rollout after that. It went full swing across Europe plus North and South America as well as Australasia. The next big focus was Asia with the Japanese launch.
Various institutions attempt to determine the monetary value of Red Bull says its website. While that’s all very nice, Red Bull itself does not get involved in such speculation. What counts is the consumer concept of Red Bull when holding a can in the hand. And this, thanks to strong marketing efforts, sets Red Bull distinctly apart from competitors. Often copied, never equated sums up how Red Bull sees the competitive situation.
Interview with Nigel Trood
*How has your first year at the helm been? What were the highs and lows? * We have had a fantastic year.
All consumer indicators reached new levels, with a record sales growth of +14% year on year. We also hosted the Air Race in London, an event nobody thought possible. Not only was the event a great success, but it also drove our biggest month of sales ever, as 32.5 million cans were sold in July.
Luckily, lows are hard to think of. However, the one thing that is a challenge is ensuring customers understand the importance of availability and visibility in store to enable them to realise their maximum sales potential.
Recent research shows that our consumers are very loyal, with as many as two in five going elsewhere or without, if our product is out of stock, resulting in lost sales for the retailer.
How do you feel about the launch of Monster in the UK?
We welcome new products to the category that truly are new developments, based on consumer driven insights and needs, and add value to the category. The launch of Monster is no different to any other. There has always been an abundance of competitor brands - they come and go.
The Bedroom Jam is a great idea. How has it gone down? How many participants have there been? Why did it end on 8 January? Why open entry to under 19s only?
Red Bull Bedroom Jam provides a platform for young bands and musicians to upload their videos and have the opportunity to have one of their gigs livestreamed across the internet.
Red Bull Bedroom Jam was launched in September 2007 with a live gig online by Kerrang award nominees youmeatsix. This was followed by five performances by other young bands (Furthest Drive Home, Linchpin, Lyrikal Squad, Maveric, The Press and Area 15) from around the UK.
The website is going through a minor change at the moment and will be relaunched on 7 February with a few amendments. Due to the popularity of the site, particularly the live performances, we have decided to put on live gigs weekly rather than fortnightly. The 2008 schedule will be divided into three seasons to fit in around school holidays and exam times.
Red Bull Bedroom Jam is aimed at giving new, young and undiscovered talent the chance to gain exposure across the internet. Therefore we took the conscious decision to limit entrants to those people aged 19 years or younger.
*How is Red Bull looking in motorsport for 2008? *
We are looking forward to a year that builds upon the success we enjoyed in 2007, when Red Bull Racing finished 5th and Scuderia Toro Rosso finished 7th.
*Are any more formats planned as far as packaging goes? How is the Big Can going? There are rumours of paper cups at some events. Who makes these? *
The 35.5cl Big Can was developed in response to demand from our most loyal customers. It fulfils a unique consumer need for ‘more energy now’. It is now the top ten fastest selling soft drink SKU in impulse by cash rate of sale and one of the most successful sports and energy launches in 2007, delivering over £11 million in incremental value sales by December, just ten months since launch.
We launched Sugarfree 35.5cl January this year. The bigger can variant of Sugarfree satisfies a gap in the market for consumers who want more energy now, but no sugar. Sugarfree 35.5cl looks the same as Sugarfree 25cl, has the same functionality and is also supported by Red Bull’s £24 million marketing campaign.
Regarding cups, we have worked with the Eden Project in the past and Pronto Pack came highly recommended. As a result, we use biodegradable cups at many of our events.
*What are the big issues for the company right now? *
Health and wellbeing is an increasingly important issue for the soft drinks industry as, more than ever, consumers are trying to live balanced and healthy lifestyles. As a result, Sugarfree is a key focus for us right now.
Launched in 2003 and containing just eight calories a can, almost one in five cans of Red Bull sold are Sugarfree. This presents a great opportunity for retailers to capitalise on. We’re supporting Sugarfree with a £1 million marketing spend and it will appear on TV for the first time ever as part of our brand TV campaign. Support also includes brand new point of sale and a heavyweight sampling campaign targeted at female consumers. Sugarfree is already growing at 20% each year and this media investment will help to raise consumer awareness, creating a strong desire to purchase.
What’s next for Red Bull?
Every year we invest in a huge worldwide marketing support programme and 2008 is set to be one of our biggest years ever as we boost our promotional spend to £25.3 million.
The Flugtag is coming to London. The Flugtag is a contest to design and build the most outrageous flying machine you can possibly think of - then, and here’s the best part, fly it! The Flugtag is set to take place in June 2008 and will be televised on terrestrial TV.
After its phenomenal success last year, we’re also bringing the Air Race World Series back to the UK. The Red Bull Air Race is an exciting competition in which the world’s most talented pilots are up against each other in a race based on speed, precision and skill. We recorded our most successful month in history during the Red Bull Air Race 2007, proving consumer events can have a direct impact on sales.
This article was first published
in Beverage Innovation.