Red Bull: The Real Story Behind the Can

Red Bull: The Real Story Behind the Can

You’ve probably had that feeling when you’re
tired, but you’ve got to stay awake, so you pop open an energy drink and boom, you’re
hit by that familiar rush of energy. It’s this feeling that has given rise to
an industry worth approximately 64.7 billion dollars as of 2015, and so this week’s Behind
the Business video is dedicated to the beverage that made all of that possible, Red Bull. Surprisingly, Red Bull actually comes from
Thailand. Now, Thailand is a country that’s not particularly
known for its political stability. In fact, since 1912 Thailand has experienced
a total of 21 coup attempts, about half of which ended up being successful, for an average
of one coup every 5 years. The latest edition, by the way, was in 2014,
but since their king died less than a month ago, we’ll probably be seeing another coup
attempt pretty soon. Although today Thailand is a medium-income
country with the 20th largest economy in the world, for most of the 20th century it was
extremely destitute. Over 70% of the population lived in rural
areas, and the average person got by on $2 a day. The region of Thailand that interests us is
the Phichit province, located in the center of the country. It is there that in 1923 a man named Chaleo
Yoovidhya was born to a family of duck herders. As you can imagine, herding ducks isn’t
a very profitable business, and Chaleo grew up in poverty with minimal education. He was the third of five children, and as
soon as he was old enough, his parents sent him 330 kilometers south to work in his older
brother’s chemistry shop in Bangkok. Chaleo worked there as an antibiotics salesman,
and over the years he learned a lot about chemistry and marketing. In 1962 he had saved enough money to start
his own company, TC Pharmaceuticals. Chaleo ran his business well, but in the early
1970s he made a very curious observation. He noticed that the majority of energy drinks
in Thailand at the time were foreign imports: in fact, the most popular one, called Lipovitan-D,
came from Japan. These drinks were marketed mainly to the wealthier
residents of Bangkok, which at the time was Thailand’s largest international port and
so most foreign imports went through it. Chaleo realized, however, that the wealthy
people of Bangkok weren’t the ones who would need energy drinks the most. Having come from crippling poverty himself,
he knew all too well what it meant to be a low-paid worker pulling tiresome night shifts. Chaleo set about creating an energy drink
of his own, and his first step was to analyze the composition of competing drinks. The primary ingredient in most energy drinks,
including the ones sold in Thailand during the 1970s, is a compound called taurine. Now, taurine is a chemical of huge significance
for the human body: it’s necessary for the function of your cardiovascular system, skeletal
muscles and central nervous system. Contrary to the claims that you might find
on social media, taurine isn’t made of bull semen. The reason it’s called taurine is because
it was first isolated from ox bile. Not only is taurine essential for the function
of the human body, it’s a compound that we naturally synthesize and to be honest,
we should be glad about that. Unlike us, some mammals can’t produce taurine
on their own and have to get it from external sources. I’m looking at you, cats. But even though we can produce small amounts
of taurine on our own, dumping extra taurine into your bloodstream can give you a significant
performance boost, especially if you’re sleep deprived. It is precisely for this reason that Chaleo
chose taurine as the primary compound of his energy drink. He also added caffeine to serve as a stimulant,
a bunch of B vitamins to support cell metabolism, and two forms of sugar to provide a source
of energy. With the chemistry figured out, Chaleo’s
next step was to design his brand. He wanted to convey the strength and potency
of his drink, and so for his logo he chose to depict the gaur, a wild bovine species
native to Southeast Asia. Gaurs are actually the largest living bovines,
with adult bulls reaching up to 7 feet in height and weighing over 3,000 lb. Chaleo painted two red gaurs charging against
each other in front of a golden disc, and he called his drink Krating Daeng, which unsurprisingly
means Red Gaur in Thai. Having worked as a salesman for most of his
life, Chaleo knew very well how to market his beverage. Instead of advertising in urban areas like
Bangkok, Chaleo focused his efforts on the provincial regions of Thailand. One of his best ideas was to sponsor local
Muay Thai events. Muay Thai is Thailand’s most popular martial
art, whose origins date back to the 16th century. It was and still is an integral part of Thai
culture, and it was actually the foundation upon which the Japanese developed kickboxing
in the 1960s. Muay Thai became prominent internationally
in the 1970s, and Chaleo managed to harness this rising wave of popularity for Krating
Daeng. Thanks to a series of key event sponsorships
through Thailand, in 1976 Krating Daeng was off to a phenomenal start. By the end of the year it had become the second
most popular energy drink in Thailand, behind only Lipovitan-D, which it managed to overtake
just one year later. Chaleo was lucky because from the 1970s up
until the 1990s Thailand experienced a period of unprecedented economic growth. It’s GDP quadrupled, per capita income tripled,
and Thailand was on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse rivaling the likes of
Taiwan and South Korea. Krating Daeng became Thailand’s unofficial
beverage during the boom years. Unlike the foreign energy drinks, Krating
Daeng captured the national spirit and became a symbol for the perseverance of the working
man. At this point you might be wondering, “Well
hold on a minute, wasn’t Red Bull actually from Austria!” Technically, you’re right. I mean, if you open Red Bull’s website,
that’s pretty much what they say. You shouldn’t really look at a company’s
website for an unbiased account of its history, though. Here is what actually happened:
While Krating Daeng was conquering Thailand’s energy drink market, an Austrian man named
Dietrich Mateschitz was struggling to work as a salesman. He didn’t come from a particularly wealthy
family: his parents were primary school teachers,
which is rather ironic considering it took him 10 years to graduate from university with
a marketing degree. He worked for half a dozen companies, including
Unilever, before finally landing at Blendax, a German-based company notable for its toothpaste. In 1982 Dietrich travelled to Thailand for,
*ahem*, business, of course, and after his flight he felt very sleepy so he decided to
buy an energy drink. The drink he bought was Krating Daeng, and
to his surprise it not only woke him up, but it also cured him of his jet lag. Dietrich got hooked immediately, drinking
as many as 8 cans a day, and he liked the drink so much he decided to try to import
it back to Austria. In 1984 he approached Chaleo with an offer:
both of them would invest half a million dollars each into the establishment of an Austrian
company that would distribute Krating Daeng internationally. Dietrich would be in charge of the new company’s
operations, while Chaleo would continue to run TC Pharmaceuticals and Krating Daeng back
in Thailand. Dietrich’s first task would be to westernize
Krating Daeng and make it appealing to its European clientele. He left the basic formula pretty much the
same, and the only big change he made was carbonating it. Dietrich liked the brand’s overall design,
but instead of going for its name’s literal translation, he went for the more generic
Red Bull. In many ways Dietrich was faced with the same
marketing challenge that Chaleo had overcome a decade earlier. Krating Daeng was successful because it represented
the spirit of its buyers, the working class of Thailand. Unlike Thailand, however, the vast majority
of Europe had a pretty decent lifestyle, so Deitrich had to take a different approach. He knew that Red Bull would work best as a
party drink, but had to figure out how to market it to a young generation of people
who were firmly against traditional forms of advertising. This is where Dietrich struck gold. He paid students to have their Volkswagen
Beetles or Mini Coopers redone with large Red Bull cans on top, and he also hired students
to serve as “brand managers”. These “brand managers” were essentially
paid to throw huge parties, where they would distribute free Red Bull cans to promote the
brand. From these parties have emerged dozens of
cocktail recipes using Red Bull, like the Vod-Bomb, the Jumping Jack Flash, and Liquid
Cocaine. As you can imagine this marketing strategy
was brilliant, and during the first year of its launch in 1987, Red Bull sold over a million
cans in Austria. From then on it spread like wildfire, hitting
the shelves of Hungary and Slovakia in 1992 and Germany and the UK in 1994. By the time Red Bull entered the US in 1997,
it was selling 1 million cans every day. During this dramatic expansion Dietrich developed
another ingenious marketing tactic. As an avid sports enthusiast and a proud owner
of a pilot’s license, Dietrich was well aware of the rise of extreme sports during
the 1980s. That’s one of the reasons why he gave the
drink its emblematic slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings”. Dietrich’s first serious venture into the
world of sport came in 1991 when he organized the first Red Bull Flugtag in Vienna. The event brings together competitors from
across the globe who try to fly their homemade human-powered flying machines, usually with
minimal success, but great entertainment value. The success of Flugtag convinced Dietrich
to start hosting other sports events, and to that end he’s been spending an ever increasing
amount on this alternative marketing strategy. In 2011, for example, Red Bull’s marketing
budget amounted to 2.1 billion dollars, a stunning 84% of their gross profit. The list of events organized by Red Bull is
truly impressive, and it features sports ranging from freestyle motocross to downhill ice skating. Red Bull has also acquired five soccer teams,
including the New York Red Bulls, and three stadiums to go along with them. Over the years Red Bull has bought or sponsored
teams across many different sports, but their most notable acquisitions by far are their
two Formula One teams. That’s right, they’re bankrolling not
one, but two teams participating in one of the most expensive sports in history. In 2011 Red Bull spent a third of their entire
marketing budget on their Formula One teams, which has more than paid off considering their
impressive track record. Scuderia Toro Rosso is the junior Red Bull
team, which they bought from Minardi in 2005. The best drivers from Toro Rosso usually advance
to the senior team, Red Bull Racing, which Dietrich acquired in 2004 from the Ford Motor
company. Red Bull Racing has won a total of 8 titles,
all thanks to their star driver Sebastian Vettel. Today Red Bull is bigger than ever, with a
43% global market share despite the rise of copycat brands like Monster and Rockstar. Interestingly enough in 2013 they got hit
by a class-action lawsuit that claimed their “Red Bull gives you wings” slogan was
tantamount to false advertising. Of course, it’s doubtful that anyone ever
bought a Red Bull can with the hope of eventually growing wings, but hey, it’s the US so why
not start a lawsuit, right? Eventually Red Bull settled for 13 million
dollars, about half of which ended up in the hands of the victims whose dreams of growing
wings had been shattered. On a final note I’d like to share with you
footage from the Red Bull Stratos project, which in 2012 helped Felix Baumgartner skydive
a record-breaking 24 miles from the stratosphere. I recommend watching it to the end, since
I’ve got a few special surprises for you guys after, but for now, enjoy:
Hey everyone, thanks for watching! We hit 10,000 subscribers a few days ago and
we’ve got a huge update for you guys in our latest update video, which you can watch by
clicking here. Basically the channel is getting its own subreddit,
a new editor, and a Patreon page. In the update video I spend a lot of time
explaining how all the different reward tiers on Patreon work, sort of like a tutorial for
those of you not familiar with the platform. If tutorials aren’t really your thing though,
you can also visit our Patreon page directly and support us by clicking here in the middle. In case you missed it, you can watch our previous
video by clicking over here. It’s about the history of Ferrari, from
their earliest racing endeavours in the 1920s to the latest special edition cars they’ve
announced for their 70th anniversary. You can also visit our subreddit and follow
us on social media by clicking down here, and as always: stay smart.


  • chironapolonio

    March 28, 2019


  • Ronan

    April 3, 2019


  • Pierre Kuchmann

    April 13, 2019

    Eather shit mic or shit voice eather way its hard to understand you without cranking the volume up

  • Caligula Germanicus

    April 14, 2019

    Still tastes like shit

  • Onyx

    April 24, 2019

    Red Bull is a marketing company that sells drinks – change my mind.

  • ionic_ adzrana

    May 4, 2019

    I was drinking red bull when watching this

  • Kurt Krainer

    May 5, 2019

    Red white red!😊

  • Joseph

    May 15, 2019

    Don’t tel me someone actually got $6 mill cause Red Bull didn’t give him wings. Wtf

  • Sumayer Khan Sajid

    May 18, 2019

    6:18 Mom I am going for a business 😏😏

  • Zetsuke4

    May 20, 2019

    yes thai!!!

  • น้องปาล์ม ชักดาบหนีหนี้

    May 20, 2019

    Red bull made in Thailand

  • Petar Burić

    May 29, 2019

    Torro Rosso its Red Bull on Italian 😉

  • SYA_dobrovdy

    June 2, 2019

    Business casual :: Kyle edition

  • Anon An

    June 4, 2019

    Ad Brought To You By Red Bulls.

  • Mettidggh Metti

    June 8, 2019

    Red bull shit drink

  • Ima Matshikwe

    June 16, 2019

    So red bull is from Thailand

  • ฟ้าเหลือง ที่เหมืองทอง

    June 17, 2019

    Thailand may not be a very prosperous country But Red Bull drink Really born from Thailand And 20 years ago I used to work in the Red Bull factory in Thailand 😊

  • Thai Kumnun

    June 20, 2019

    After Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz launched Red Bull in Austria and in the media in Austria was like it's Austrain brainchild until the media in the UK like the gaurdian revealed the truth behind Austrian Red Bull lies.

  • Thai Kumnun

    June 20, 2019

    After Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz launched Red Bull in Austria and in the media in Austria was like it's Austrain brainchild until the media in the UK like the gaurdian revealed the truth behind Austrian Red Bull lies.

  • Tesla Advocate

    June 27, 2019

    Obviously, it's not healthy.

  • just saying

    July 7, 2019

    6:18 must Pause 😁😁😁😁😁😁⏸️⏸️

  • Saaga

    July 14, 2019

    Thank you for this really interesting video !! By the way the montage is really flowing and it's pleasant to watch this !

    But actually is it possible for you to share some of your sources ? Because I want to begin some searches about this industry ! Thank you 😉

  • Harsh Kumar

    July 16, 2019

    Will buy red bull after seeing this !

  • Ton Bong

    July 19, 2019

    In 1992 Red Bull spread to Hungary and Slovenia – not Slovakia.

  • nick de ridder

    July 22, 2019

    why would the red bull website say that red bull is Austrian? even though they know too that its thai

  • Jesus

    July 25, 2019

    It was founded in Austria!

  • Angello Komagum

    July 30, 2019

    Did someone say LIQUID COCAINE.

  • Leo Schultz

    August 4, 2019

    *wings sold separately.

  • Fred Davis

    August 7, 2019

    Red Bull = Bend Over $$ Want better results? Add 1-2 tspn Pure Honey to water. Pure Honey has NO CORN SYRUP!

  • Fred Davis

    August 7, 2019

    How many of you know that national syndicate radio show host Michael Savage's son created the energy drink company Rockstar?

  • Andrew Lucfr

    August 10, 2019

    Red Bull > Monster Drink

  • Rafal C

    August 13, 2019

    Today a bottle of non-carbonated original Red Bull costs $0.30 in 7/11 store in Bangkok

  • Jasim Tayyab

    August 17, 2019

    Hi I’m a Muslim, is it halal according to Islam

  • Gustavo A

    August 18, 2019

    So the Earth is not flat?

  • Mendieta

    August 19, 2019

    bad research, taurine does not afect humans, and redbull quantities of taurine are minimal. sugar and cafeine do wake you up, but sugar is the one that does that best. ask a phisician if you don't trust me!

  • aji koko

    August 19, 2019

    Kratingdaeng taste better. You should try it.

  • Sara Sleightholm

    August 19, 2019

    If you haven't been to a Flugtag, you really should if you're able. They're great fun (most of the contestants know they won't make eight feet so it's all about the "take-off performance").
    RedBull also hosts a race call "Wings for Life World Run". It's a global race that's hosted annually on Derby weekend (May 1st for anyone outside Kentucky). Contestants all start at the same time (literally at the same time, so some time zones start at like 3:00 a.m.) and it's a race between you and the catcher car (a car that drives at a certain speed ~30 minutes after the race begins, you're out as soon as the car catches up to you, hence the name), it officially ends when the last person running is caught (2014 Lemawork Ketema won with 78.58 km). Literally anyone can participate and if you're unable to make it to an even location you can download the app and participate at home.
    Okay cool, why did I feel the need to tell you this? The race is actually a marketing tactic (although that kind of sounds sleazy, it's not sleazy) for the non-for-profit charity Wing For Life founded by Heinz Kinigadner and Dietrich Mateschitz with the goal to cure spinal cord injuries and paraplegia. The race motto being "Running for those who can't."
    I've actually participated in the race 2017 in Orlando. It was amazing, the whole road was closed off in the main section, there was a helicopter taking aerial footage and all of it was paid for out of pocket by RedBull. 100% of the proceeds went to the charity and also the CEO runs with everyone in Austria. I cannot talk highly enough about this so if you by happenstance read this all the way through, check out the foundation.

  • Rik Dallas

    August 21, 2019

    The Thai grandson run over a cop and dragged him 200 metres under his car, skipped town and still is out awaiting the period of time to be charged elapses. Weak cunt

  • GamePlayShare

    August 21, 2019

    Oh hello Felix, you sneaky girl XD

  • Lil 15

    August 22, 2019

    How youtube gonna start me off with a double add on this one damn

  • Bonn Junior

    August 22, 2019

    Err which country is that

  • Hermeritaño Malaventura De las Maldivas

    August 23, 2019

    Sub spanish please

  • serg serg

    August 24, 2019

    This video is buffelshit

  • Whoever Whoever

    August 25, 2019

    you dont want to drink that shit.

  • enterthetekken

    August 28, 2019

    Well did anyone expect a Red Bull to come out of the can, if so i smell another lawsuit lol

  • Knuckles badass industries reviewsforeverman Bryguy

    August 31, 2019

    love the german accent bra

  • Tim Krash

    September 1, 2019

    Copycat brands like Monster and Rockstar… How are they copycat when Red Bull started in the same way, copying other energy drinks.
    Monster and Rockstar introduced flavors to their drinks and Monster experimented with coffee as well. After the rise of Monster, Red Bull decided to flavor their drinks, so who's copying who?

  • Euan Reid

    September 2, 2019

    America always playing the victim…..

  • R Greenup

    September 4, 2019

    Have a coffee instead.

  • Usama Khizar

    September 7, 2019

    And im watching that video after 600+k subscribers

  • Dark Side

    September 15, 2019

    Who are here after redbull space jump by Felix video

  • Saibal Republic

    September 15, 2019

    Just came to the comments section to say that Sebastian Vettel is a great F1 driver. All those who are familiar with Formula One know how he's maybe the best driver of this generation , even better than Alonso.

  • Joshua Smith

    September 16, 2019

    I was today years old when I found out red bull does not give you wings. Next you'll be telling me lynx dosnt guarentee you'll get a girl

  • WB312

    September 21, 2019

    Very expensive drink. Not worth it.

  • rusu valentin

    September 23, 2019

    nice video,thanks for sharing

  • Bossa N

    September 23, 2019

    L-ai copiat pe La Lapovești cu jimmy 0:05

  • AMARA 69

    September 26, 2019

    8:48 Energy Drink 250ml. The price in Thailand is 1.69USD. How about the price in your country?


    September 27, 2019

    I'm 12 and drink red bull addicting

  • Sean Mhembere

    September 28, 2019

    Are we just gonna ignore that someone instantly made 6.5 million dollars for probably lying that they expected to grow wings come on😂😂😂😂

  • marcio shiokawa

    September 29, 2019

    A presumably highly educated person became a judge, than… condemn Red Bull to pay over 10 M US$ because it actually (ACTUALLY) doesn't give you "wings". really !??!?!?! I have that naive perception that Judges are to Judge wisely and try to be the most correct and fair person in a process….. WTF…. is the same as suing a farmer / produce store by a M*** F** that eats apples and one day falls sick due to excess of smoke & cocaine abuse… (an apple a day keeps the doctors away).

  • Relax Company

    October 7, 2019

    I'm Thai,I bought it for 0.33 dollars in Thailand. LOL

  • Andi

    October 12, 2019

    your BGM is soooo good

  • Alex

    October 16, 2019

    And now an F1 driver for Red Bull is from thailand

  • Lee Raunt

    October 19, 2019

    And now Red Bull's Dota 2 team "OG" just won back to back on the games biggest event "The International" which earned them $25 million dollars in two years.

  • Life of James

    October 19, 2019

    8 cans a day. DAYUM

  • Chris Bate

    October 19, 2019

    What Redbull is that that has 77mg of caffiene per 8 fl oz? Ours in England only has 32mg.

  • mediocre man

    October 21, 2019

    It seems Austria's main exporteurs are Red Bull and Glock, but for some reason, I think Glock may be the less harmful one…

  • Charles Wild

    October 31, 2019

    C. Thomas Wild – About Inattentive ADHD – – Caffeine works for some with ADHD; food additives in FDA approved medicines and foods need better ingredient labels.

  • Prasanth G

    October 31, 2019

    I used red bull for studies like cover many chapters in single night😂

  • Shaun

    November 3, 2019

    6:18 Source?, for research purposes

  • Farouk Umar

    November 4, 2019

    great video

  • MrPierre RotMG

    November 5, 2019

    Im having a hard time hearing some words

  • Xavier Staals

    November 8, 2019

    It can give u wings. How?? Faster heart attack

  • Gold Hoarder

    November 9, 2019

    Red bull was made in Thailand but the creator was from Austria

  • ypsilon

    November 11, 2019

    Felix Baumgartner is an asshole.

  • xele fonte

    November 12, 2019

    Now we all know why Red Bull got rid of their slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings.” Because of an all American class action lawsuit…Americans will sue for anything.

  • Jack Hyper

    November 12, 2019

    imo monster and rockstar is better than redbull, although ive only tried the classic redbull

  • MR SriLankan

    November 15, 2019

    It’s at 6:18. You welcome!

  • Leonard Jaber

    November 16, 2019

    I like your videos well written and produced watched all of them good job man but how do you find this info i will appreciate if you tell me

  • max steel

    November 16, 2019

    3:49 – The map for Gaur is inaccurate. Gaur also called "Indian Bison" is present in S-Asia as well 🙂

  • hwhizmw2

    November 20, 2019

    I use to go to collage at temple university in Philadelphia they had the Red Bull cars come through the campus and give away free cans of Red Bull

  • Abdul Syukur

    November 21, 2019

    Scuderia Toro Rosso will be renamed as Scuderia Alpha Tauri for 2020 F1 season.

  • Acentrixes

    November 21, 2019

    How are people so dumb?? Red Bull doesn’t give you fucking wings but makes you feel ease and light as a feather…

  • Ohh Key!

    November 21, 2019

    I love you and your accent 😍

  • Kurt W

    November 22, 2019

    Energy drinks are fucking awful. Never understood how they make so much money

  • Aly pixar

    November 27, 2019

    Great video

  • C Al

    November 29, 2019

    Didn't need to see that shower pic

  • David Feeley

    December 1, 2019

    Great video!

  • GW Sweden

    December 4, 2019


  • MikkyunUnlimited

    December 10, 2019

    TBIRB (Thank you Buddha, It’s Red Bull)

  • Iqrania Rayadinata Rahmadhani

    December 14, 2019

    Still call Kratingdaeng in Indonesian

  • Business Casual

    December 16, 2019

    Love BC and want to see videos before they go live?
    Follow us on IG! ( 👉

  • Legendary Movement

    December 25, 2019

    Red bull is highly in bad sugar and CHEMICALS that may lead to cancer. It is really bad for health.  In 2012, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce banned Red Bull for people under 16 after it had allegedly caused heart attacks for a 16-year-old and a 21-year-old national squash team player.

  • Treasure Trails

    December 29, 2019

    Chugged an entire 473ml can of redbull while watching this lol

  • Magyummy

    January 6, 2020

    Could i get the sources of this video, im making a presentation about redbull? thanks in advance

  • majdinolegend _tv

    January 9, 2020


  • Chris Pielacha

    January 10, 2020

    Ten years for a marketing degree?Wow. The only person to make money from it and not be in debt the rest of his life

  • Lal H k i p

    January 12, 2020

    Well that one time I realized red bull really worked was 🤯🤯…

    I was tired AF and drank red bull then kaabboomm energy boost.. usually I used to drink it for fun but didn't noticed the boost.. but after that one 1 time (tired AF) I knew it was magical ..😁😁😁

  • East Bay Angler

    January 17, 2020

    What happened to the old man? Did he retire from the company or sell his share?


    January 18, 2020

    I’ve seen a red bull car befote


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