Red Bull is an energy drink. Red Bull is based on the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng, which translates as "Red Bull". Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, based on its share of sales. The company was founded by Thai national Chaleo Yoovidhya and Austrian national Dietrich Mateschitz. Chaleo Yoovidhya and his son own 51 percent interest in the company. Mateschitz is responsible for the company's operations through the Austrian company Red Bull GmbH.
Red Bull's slogan is "it gives you wings". The product is strongly marketed through advertising, tournament sponsorship, sports team ownerships, celebrity endorsements, and with its record label. Red Bull sponsors Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice. It owns the sports team Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso, EC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull New York, and RB Leipzig. Red Bull started its own record label, Red Bull Records.
In 2009 it was discovered that Red Bull Cola exported from Austria contained trace amounts of cocaine. Red Bull has also been criticized about the possible health risks of the drink.
Red Bull took many marketing and ingredient ideas from an energy drink in Thailand called Krating Daeng. Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur, developed the Red Bull Energy Drink brand. Mateschitz was the international marketing director for Blendax, a toothpaste company, when he visited Thailand in 1982 and discovered that Krating Daeng helped to cure his jet lag. Between 1984 and 1987, Mateschitz worked with TC Pharmaceutical (a Blendax licensee) to adapt Krating Daeng for the European market.
At the same time Mateschitz and Chaleo Yoovidhya founded Red Bull GmbH; each investing $500,000 of savings and taking a stake in the new company. Chaleo and Dietrich each held a 49% share of the new company. They gave the remaining 2% to Chaleo's son Chalerm, but it was agreed that Mateschitz would run the company. The product was launched in 1987, in a carbonated format.
Red Bull was launched first in Singapore in 1989 followed by Hungary, its second foreign market in 1992. It entered the United States market (via California) in 1997 and the Middle East in 2000. In 2008, Forbes magazine listed both Chaleo and Mateschitz as being the 260th richest persons in the world with an estimated net worth of $4.0 billion.
A review published in 2008 found no documented reports of negative or positive health effects associated with the amount of taurine used in energy drinks, including Red Bull, concluding that "The amounts of guarana, taurine, and ginseng found in popular energy drinks are far below the amounts expected to deliver either therapeutic benefits or adverse events. However, caffeine and sugar are present in amounts known to cause a variety of adverse health effects."
Commonly reported adverse effects due to caffeine used in the quantities present in Red Bull are insomnia, nervousness, headache, and tachycardia (see Caffeine intoxication). A 2008 position statement issued by the National Federation of State High School Associations made the following recommendations about energy drink consumption, in general, by young athletes:
- Water and appropriate sports drinks should be used for rehydration as outlined in the NFHS Document “Position Statement and Recommendations for Hydration to Minimize the Risk for Dehydration and Heat Illness.”
- Energy drinks should not be used for hydration.Nor should they be used for performance enhancement
- Information about the absence of benefit and the presence of potential risk associated with energy drinks should be widely shared among all individuals who interact with young athletes.
- Energy drinks should not be consumed by athletes who are dehydrated.
- Energy drinks should not be consumed without prior medical approval, by athletes taking over the counter or prescription medications.
The results of a study conducted in 2008 showed that the ingestion of one, 250mL can of sugar-free Red Bull, in a sample of 30 healthy young adults, had an immediate detrimental effect on both endothelial function, and normal blood coagulation. This temporarily raised the cardiovascular risk in these individuals to a level comparable to that of an individual with established coronary artery disease.
Based on their results, researchers involved with the study cautioned against the consumption of Red Bull in individuals under stress, in those with high blood pressure, or in anyone with established atherosclerotic disease. Red Bull representatives, however, stated that this observed increase in cardiovascular risk was not felt to be different from that associated with drinking a regular cup of coffee. They also stated that they believed that Red Bull must be safe, as it was felt the only way Red Bull could have such substantial global sales is if various health authorities had concluded the drink safe to consume.
There has been at least one case report of Red Bull overdose causing postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome in a young athlete. A February 3, 2009 article in The Daily Telegraph called, "Red Bull 'may have triggered heart condition that killed student'" reported on the death of a 21 year-old woman who died after drinking four cans of Red Bull as well as alcohol at "social levels". It was believed, but had not been proven, that she suffered from a rare heart condition called long QT Syndrome. She was on medication for epilepsy. A medical examination found that there were no illegal drugs in her system. The article quoted a doctor as saying, "The QT levels may have grown over a few years, or it may have been artificially pushed over the limit by caffeine".
In April and June 2009, batches of "Red Bull Cola" drinks imported from Austria were found to contain between 0.1 - 0.3 micrograms of cocaine per litre, according to Hong Kong officials. In Taiwan it was found that the importer was due to launch a marketing campaign the next day. Importing cocaine to the island is an offense that is punishable by death or a life sentence in prison. In Germany, 11 out of 16 states had already banned the drinks by May 25, 2009.
Testing of Red Bull Energy Drink and its variations has shown that a person with a low tolerance for cocaine would have to consume two million cans of the drink in a single sitting before becoming critically ill from the cocaine. However, this finding is legally irrelevant since distribution of cocaine is illegal in any quantity in Taiwan. At this point, no further action has been taken on the matter in Taiwan.
Red Bull's claims
Red Bull claims to:
- Increase performance
- Increase concentration and reaction speed
- Improve vigilance
- Improve emotional status
- Stimulate metabolism
- Give you wings
Red Bull's invigorating effects are attributed to its high caffeine content. A single can of Red Bull contains 80 mg/250 ml of caffeine. This is about the same as one cup of normal coffee, or slightly less depending on the brewing method  The actual caffeine level in Red Bull can vary depending on country, as some countries have legal restrictions on how much caffeine is allowed in drinks.
Red Bull drinkers may experience adverse effects as a result of caffeine.
Red Bull has been subject to bans in France, Denmark and Norway. The ban has been lifted in Norway and Denmark. The French ban was challenged by the European Commission and (partially) upheld by the European Court of Justice in 2004.
Red Bull has an aggressive international marketing campaign. The numerous sponsored activities range from extreme sports like windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, cliff-diving, surfing, skating, freestyle motocross, rally, Formula 1 racing, and breakdancing to art shows, music, and video games. In keeping with their target market of young males, Red Bull has also enlisted help from celebrities, such as Eminem that would appeal to this group (sponsoring the Red Bull "EmSee Battle Rap championships"). It also hosts events like the "Red Bull Flugtag" (German for "flight day" or "flying day") and other such contests. Red Bull also sponsors association football teams, with clubs in Austria, Germany, the United States and Brazil featuring the Red Bull trademark in their names. By associating the drink's image with these activities, the company seeks to promote a "cool" public image and raise brand power. In addition, the slender container is used to suggest a "sexier" image than some other cola counterparts. Hence, this one energy drink has helped create a market for over 150 related types of merchandise, like Red Rooster and Blue Lightning.
Red Bull's slogan, "it gives you wings", is widely used in these marketing activities. Claims about the drink's effects and performance have been challenged on various occasions, with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority imposing advertising restrictions in 2001 in response to complaints first recorded as early as 1997. Even with all of the concerns regarding Red Bull, in 2000 the corporation earned around $1 billion in worldwide sales and Red Bull held 65% of the market share.
In the PlayStation 3's new social app, PlayStation Home, Red Bull has developed its own in-game island, specifically advertising its energy drink and the Red Bull Air Race event. In late November 2009, Red Bull brought out two new spaces, the Red Bull Illume space, and the Red Bull Beach space featuring the Red Bull Flugtag, both released on the same day.
In the video game Worms 3D, Red Bull could be drunk by the worms, giving them the effect of faster movement.
Red Bull is displayed on virtual track-side billboards during gameplay and in the opening cinematic in the video game Wipeout XL.
- Red Bull Brasil - a football (soccer) team currently playing in the Brazilian Campeonato Paulista Série A2.
- RB Leipzig - a football (soccer) team currently playing in the German Regionalliga Nord
- Red Bull New York – a soccer franchise competing in the United States' Major League Soccer
- Red Bull Racing, one of two Red Bull Formula One teams, this one based in Milton Keynes, England
- Scuderia Toro Rosso (Italian translation of Team Red Bull), the other Red Bull Formula One team based in Faenza, Italy.
- Team Red Bull, a racing team competing in the US based stock car racing competition NASCAR.
- FC Red Bull Salzburg, an Austrian football (soccer) club based in Salzburg and competing in the Austrian Bundesliga
- EC Red Bull Salzburg, a member of the Austrian Hockey League based in Salzburg, Austria
- Red Bull Crashed Ice
- Red Bull X-Fighters
- Red Bull Air Race World Championship
- Red Bull Flugtag
- Red Bull Paperwings
- Red Bull sports events
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