Red Bull ends US cola adventure

Red Bull has given up its bid to break the US market with its own cola drink.

The Salzburg-based company introduced Simply Cola, a soft drink free from preservatives and artificial flavours, in Europe and overseas three years ago. Red Bull confirmed reports by US media claiming that it decided to stop selling Simply Cola in the United States today (Tues).

The firm – Austria’s strongest brand in the world – refused to explain the step. Business press have it that sales of the soft drink were devastatingly low ever since it hit the shelves. The drink’s performance in Europe is not much better, according to reports. There has been no information on whether Red Bull considers a total production stop of the product due to the poor response by potential clients. It hoped to tackle the global dominance of Coca-Cola and Pepsi with its own cola drink. At the same time, sales of the company’s classic energy drink are soaring.

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz said in February he considered selling six to eight billion Red Bull cans a year within the next five to eight years as a reachable target. The firm – which strongly engages in sport marketing – sold approximately four billion cans of its best-known drink in 2010 after 3.9 billion units went over the counter the year before.

Mateschitz revealed Austria remained his firm’s top market since every citizen of the country guzzled 24 cans of Red Bull a year on average. The billionaire businessman told the Salzburger Nachrichten Red Bull planned to increase its activity in Japan, Pakistan, India and South America in the coming years. He also explained that China posed immense potential for Red Bull. The company wants to focus on the economically strong country’s big cities, according to its chief.

Red Bull – which managed to improve its brand value by 11.9 per cent from 2009 to last year to 13.4 billion Euros, according to the European Brand Institute (EBI) – recently rejected claims that Mateschitz met representatives of Facebook and YouTube. The company announced the entrepreneur did not travel to the USA to meet bosses of the booming internet companies. German newspaper Die Zeit wrote Mateschitz gathered with representatives of the US firms to speak about possibilities to cooperate. Red Bull is the most popular Austrian company on Facebook.

Red Bull launched monthly magazine Red Bulletin in Austria in 2007 before expanding to Germany a few months later. The magazine is currently available as supplement of some of the bordering countries’ leading newspapers. However, it can also be purchased individually. An English version of Red Bulletin was recently launched in the United Kingdom and in the USA. The magazine was published to wide acclaim. Red Bull’s mobile communication service called Red Bull Mobile, which focuses on offering news and entertainment content to smartphone holders, is understood to be increasingly popular too.