I managed to miss out our series on Famous Reds in February – possibly the excitement of International Coaching Week? On the day after his stunning by-election victory, it is tempting to pick George Galloway as this month’s Red, but instead Red Bull is the focus.
Red Bull is immensely popular (I am told that a Mars Bar and Red Bull is a pick-me-up, but the slump the other side must be awful). Its inventor died this month, and only then did I realise that it is really a Thai product.
Chaleo Yoovidhya invented the drink to match an energy tonic that was on his sales list, and called it “Red Water Buffalo”. It proved popular with lorry drivers and factory workers……and with an Austrian salesman who found that it cured his jet lag when visiting Thailand.
Dietrich Mateschitz westernised the product, made it fizzy, packaged it distinctively, and tweaked its name. He then used very successful guerilla marketing techniques to reach, in particular, young people. As a result, Yoovidhya died one of the richest men in the world. His obituary is here.
So as you drink Red Bull over the weekend, spare a thought for the man who invented it.