Have you ever kicked back with a can of Redbull and found yourself wondering about those two bulls locking horns on the can? Or maybe even about why that particular combination of red and gold is quite so enticing? If you have, you're by no means alone. The Redbull logo is one of the most intriguing in the food and drink world. Firstly, it depicts an actual, fully recognizable 'thing' - a rare concept in a land of abstract graphics and artful swooshes. Secondly, there's something deliciously exotic about the whole thing- the sunset, the animals, the colors... it's different, it's unique, and it's as instantly recognizable as the herby brew it represents. But what exactly is the story of the Redbull logo? Sit tight, because you're about to find out.
The Origins of Redbull
Rewind 40 or so years, and Redbull was a popular Thai beverage going by the name of Krating Daeng. Marketed to shift workers and laborers as the ideal brew to keep them wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, it had a kick to rival even the most potent cup of espresso. In time, it began to find an audience with Thai kickboxers - once that happened, it was only a matter of time before it achieved mass-market appeal. By the late 70s, Krating Daeng's heady combo of caffeine, taurine, and sugar had taken over the market. Everyone from teenagers to moms, school teachers to farmworkers were guzzling down bottles of the stuff every day. But even so, it was still very much a Thai institution. Everyone in Bangkok may have known the name Krating Daeng, but no one outside of Thailand had any idea of its existence. That all changed when an Austrian entrepreneur named Dietrich Mateschitz happened to make a trip to the Land of Smiles. When he mentioned to a business associate that he was suffering from a particularly bad dose of jet lag, he was invited to try the Thai specialty. A few sips later, he was hooked. After returning to his native Austria, Mateschitz scoured the market for something similar. Finding nothing that came even close to Krating Daeng, he realized he was onto something good.
Redbull Takes Over the World
After deciding that the time was ripe for Krating Dae to make its entrance on the world stage, Mateschitz connected with its creator, Chaleo Yoovidhya. Together, they concocted a plan to take Krating Dae global. After a few modifications to the recipe, a change of name, and a fancy new label, they were ready. And so, apparently, was the world. Within just a few short years of its release, it was the number 1 best-selling energy drink around the world. Better still (at least from Mateschitz's perspective), we've never lost our taste for it. As of today, the world consumes 7.5 billion can of Redbull every year. Whether it's for the sugar content, the caffeine content, or because we genuinely think it's going to give us wings, who knows? And who really cares? It tastes good, it's affordable, and it gives us enough of a pick-me-up to get us through those 3 pm slumps. What more could anyone want from an energy drink?
Despite what Trading Standards tell us to the contrary, we all know that Redbull gives us wings. How do we know that? Because Redbull is about way more than caffeine. It's about marketing... and very successful marketing at that. More than any other energy drink around, Redbull has managed to build up a legend, a myth, and a philosophy that we can't resist buying into, no matter what our better instincts tell us. Part of that is driven by droll advertising campaigns that never fail to find their mark. Those iconic blue and silver cans probably help as well. But just as significant is the logo. That exotic, unique logo that's as unmistakable as the drink itself. Whoever decided that a pair of headbutting bulls was a good idea for an emblem was clearly something of a genius... but what exactly does it all mean?
The Redbull Logo
The Redbull logo is just as iconic and recognizable as those famous blue and silver cans. It's big, it's bold, and it's 100% unique. No one is going to confuse the image of two headbutting bulls set against a sunset backdrop for anything else. Which is kind of the point. Head into any grocery store in any part of the world, and as soon as you see that emblem, you know exactly what you're getting. You might be in Singapore; you might be in Germany. Perhaps you're in the US or even the UK. But as soon as you see that emblem, you're on familiar ground. And at the end of the day, isn't that what all logos are meant to do? To inspire recognition, loyalty, and familiarity? If so, no one can deny that Redbull has nailed it.
Bulls. That's the first thing that people see when they see the Redbull logo, and that's the first thing that springs to mind when we think of the name. But what exactly do bulls have in common with a caffeinated energy drink? Brands like Puma and Jaguar have been aligning themselves successfully to animals for years, but there's a world of difference between a sleek, agile wild cat and a cumbersome, boorish bull. So, what's with the bulls, Redbull? For a start, there's the very fortuitous coincidence of the name. Secondly, there's the fact that bulls represent all kinds of things that Redbull would no doubt want to be aligned with. They're aggressive, they're fearless, they take risks but no prisoners, and they're about as powerful and speedy as animals of that size can get. They're also remarkably immune from ever feeling in need of a midday nap. Remind you of any drink? Yep, basically, bulls have all the attributes that a can of Redbull has... or at least, those that Redbull wants you to think it has. So, no mystery on the bull's score. But what about that sunset?
Sunrise or Sunset?
No one's ever being able to work out exactly what's behind those two fighting bulls. Is it a sunset or a sunrise? Either way, it's a sun, and a very enticing, exotic-looking sun at that. When Mateschitz took on the challenge of selling Krating Dae to the world, he knew exactly what to change and what to leave well enough alone. Of those things he decided to leave untouched, the hint of exotica was one. The Redbull logo isn't something you come across every day. And that's kind of the point. As Medium puts it, it has “a sense of foreign exotics — a bizarre and positive association in the design of the brand of a new energy drink”. As for that red and gold color scheme? Who knows exactly why Redbull settled on it, it's exactly what makes the logo recognizable... something that, when all is said and done, is precisely what a good logo needs to be.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith