February 18, 2005

Excerpts: Brand Hijack - Part VIII

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:53 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

With the success of Red Bull, the big boysPepsi, Coca-Cola, and Anheuser-Buschjumped on the energy drink bandwagon. All three companies tried to copy Red Bulls low-key marketing approach, but so far have met with limited success.
What could possibly go wrong? Plenty.
They went for a top-down approach instead of collaboration.
Instead of seeding their brands slowly within relevant subcultures, KMX (Coke) and 180 (A-B) entered the alternative music and sport scenes in the traditional marketing manner: as sponsors. Here is what one attendant wrote about an Area One concert:
There were people all dressed in orange promoting a new energy drink called KMX, and offering free samples to everyone in little test tubes. They were everywhere!

The big companies havent tried to earn their communities adoption of the drinks. Theyve tried to buy it. And so they havent been as effective as Red Bull, which used marketing tactics that sometimes took years to unfold in order to garner the long-term loyalty of its consumers.
[Like I said in the intro, I ran out of room to cover the whole case (I get 2000 words on excerpts). The other headings that Wipperfurth uses in this section include "Chasing 'cool', but ignoring function", "They haven't been honest with the customers", and "They try to maintain too much control".]
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About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.