SDA Professor of Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management
In 1982, Dietrich Mateschitz was marketing director for a toothpaste company. Like many other people in Thaliand, especially workers, he bought and drank Krating Daeng ("Red Bull") to give him a boost of energy and to fight jet-lag.
Observing that there was a strong domestic demand for the drink, Mateschitz hooked up with Chaleo Yoovidhya, founder of TC Pharmaceuticals that had launched Krating Daeng in Thaliand back in 1976 on a project aimed at introducing the product in Europe. Mateschitz invested all his savings and the European version of Redbull (a carbonated energy drink with an adapted taste) was launched in Austria in 1987 and is now the world's leading brand in the energy drink category.
In 2008 CocaCola decided to launch their own energy drink (Monster) and in 2009 Pepsi followed with signing a distribution deal with Rockstar Energy.
There might be several reasons for why CocaCola and Pepsi, with their existing brand, production facilities, market intelligence units, marketing research and customer monitoring, did not pick up and experimented with this new category before 10 years after Mateschitz “couped” the market, but the situation is not atypical. In spite of being present on the market, having money to pay consultants and marketing people to follow market developments and trends and in spite of having existing distribution networks and therefore easy access to market data, many large companies are struggling to be pro-active, fast, entrepreneurial and innovative.