Red Bull made a spectacular entry into France on 1 April. The world's largest energy drink producer celebrated its long-awaited arrival in the country with 150 'Wings Teams' from around Europe.
Red Bull made a spectacular entry into France on 1 April. The world's largest energy drink producer celebrated its long-awaited arrival in the country with 150 'Wings Teams' from around Europe, forming a magnificent get together as they circled around the Arc de Triomphe in their distinctive blue and silver Minis just hours after a BASE jumper got the 'Wings for Paris' day off to a flying start by leaping off the Eiffel Tower.
The highlight of the celebrations marking the arrival of the energy drink, which is already available in more than 140 countries, with more than 3.5 billion cans sold in 2007, was a Red Bull-style car rally around the Arc de Triomphe by the 'Wings Teams'.
The roundabout around the famous arch at the end of the Champs-Elysees may be one of most challenging for motorists anywhere in Europe, with swift-moving traffic entering and exiting from 12 different avenues. But the Wings Teams from 10 different countries across Europe skillfully navigated their Minis into and around the monument. After safely parking their cars, they surprised curious Parisians by giving them wings – free samples of the energy drink.
Distracted tourists When asked for her experience, one of the charming British drivers replied: "It was a bit hairy getting in here at first, but the Parisians have been very kind and let us in. It's great fun. All the tourists stopped taking pictures of the Arc de Triomphe and now they're taking pictures of us. I think that says it all."
Earlier, just after daybreak, Swiss BASE jumper Ueli Gegenschatz got the Red Bull 'Wings for Paris' day off to a dazzling start with his picture-perfect leap from the top of the Eiffel Tower, France's 324-metre-high national landmark.
After a three-second freefall, Gegenschatz pulled his pilotchute to unfurl his canopy for a 35-second gentle descent. He landed safely about 600 metres northwest of the city's tallest structure and world's most recognisable monument.
"It was an exciting climb up and the jump went well with a nice opening," said Gegenschatz, who had made his ascent up the side of the tower in the early morning hours under the cover of darkness. "It was pretty cold up there and there was quite a bit of wind. I was glad when the sun finally came up. It's a great way to introduce Red Bull to France."
Gegenschatz was briefly detained by a French police officer who happened to be driving by the landing spot just as he saw the Red Bull canopy fly over his windshield. "That was just a bit of bad luck at the end," said Gegenschatz. "The police later told me it was purely by chance that they were there right when I was landing."
About two hours later, French trial motorbike specialist Julien Dupont gave countless thousands of rush hour commuters in Paris's La Defense business district a rush of their own with a gravity defying motorcycle ride up, over and down the other side of the 50-metre-high arched concrete roof of the CNIT Center.
"Everything went according to plan on the way up and it was my greatest accomplishment on the bike ever," said Dupont, who was helped by two tall women in short skirts who distracted security. "The roof was a bit slippery, so I had to slow down a bit on the way back down the other side. It was tricky getting the (80-kilo) bike over the fence, but that all worked out well."
This article was first published
in Beverage Innovation.