Saturday, May 14, 2005

Red Bull(sh*t?)

I came across this account of Red Bull's anti-marketing marketing while trying to convince myself to buy a can of the apparently disgusting beverage. The research didn't have that effect, but I did learn a quite a bit about the secretive, highly successful company. Rob Walker, who writes great stuff for the New York Times every week, is great at pointing out the paradoxes and inner emptiness of much modern marketing, and those skills come in handy when examining an elixir like Red Bull. As I read, I thought that Red Bulls sounds less and less like a contemporary product - Coke, Fords, Levis, whatever: a good with a kernel of real value and a halo of notional ones - and more and more like some exotic item coveted by a 16th-century burgher who had no real knowledge of its characteristics - say, coffee, which was considered a medicine, a stimulant, an aphrodisiac, and a poison. Everything old is new again? Perhaps. Or maybe just a demonstration that trade has always depended as much on myth and hearsay as on actual knowledge of the good, economistic notions of rational consumers or perfect information aside.


Post a Comment

<< Home