Even if you don’t drink a drop, Red Bull’s logo alone can “give you wings” says a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology by two Boston College professors. They found that consumers exposed to the brand displayed characteristics associated with it.
Here’s how it worked: Researchers had volunteers play a car racing video game with nearly identical race cars. The only difference was each car was decorated with a different brand logo and colour scheme.
The other cars represented Guinness, Tropicana, and Coca Cola.
Players controlling the Red Bull car displayed characteristics often attributed to the brand – speed, power, and risk-taking – and the results were both positive and negative. In some cases, the drivers sped around the course faster than other cars. In others, their recklessness caused them to crash and lose valuable time.
This behaviour is known as “non-conscious brand priming,” according to professors S. Adam Brasel and James Gips, which means the personality of a brand can unconsciously “push” or “nudge” a consumer to act in ways consistent with that personality when exposed to brand imagery.
Red Bull has built its brand identity around sponsored promotions such as cliff diving, street luge contests, car racing, and a full-contact ice-skating obstacle course known as “Crashed Ice.”
The researchers also point to search results on the website brandtags.net, where users enter words or phrases they associate with brands. 9 of the 40 most commonly occurring terms for Red Bull deal with speed and power and four pertain to risk-taking and recklessness. In comparison, the 14 other most popular drink brands at brandtags.net average less than one speed or power associated word per brand and almost zero risk-taking or recklessness associated words per brand.
To read the study, click here.
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