It seems that Red Bull North America has cancelled production of Red Bull Cola and Red Bull Energy Shot in the US. Existing stocks are to sell through and then the brand is back to its core product alone.
The move is hardly surprising as sales of the ‘acquired taste’ cola in the US have hardly set the category alight, and the energy shot has had to compete is an emerging category that is now so overcrowded there seems to be a new launch almost every day.
So is this a sign of failure for Red Bull? No, I don’t believe it is. For year after year, as we published first softdrinksworld and then Beverage Innovation magazine, we constantly asked how a brand could achieve such global success with a single product: Red Bull.
Then the diversification began. First came sugar free, then larger cans, then cola and finally the energy shot.
Red Bull occupies a sort of ‘Hoover’ space. The brand is synonymous with energy drinks and many would say it ‘created’ the category. So does it need cola and shots? Probably not.
And will Red Bull Cola and Red Bull Energy Shot continue to exist outside North America? We’re asking the question and we’ll let you know. The Red Bull Cola logo has vanished from the rear wing of Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 car this season, but is still on the Toro Rosso team’s tail.
Does Red Bull need cola or shots? I doubt it makes much difference either way for such a well loved and singleminded brand.
Bill Bruce is group editorial director of FoodBev Media. You can contact him here
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