Red Bull Tries to Energize Millennials With Zero Calories and New Flavors

Daylight Savings launch will wake you up as clock springs forward

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Red Bull and its longtime agency, Kastner and Partners, today are unveiling the energy drink brand's biggest U.S. product launch with an out-of-home and digital-video campaign.

The campaign expands Red Bull Editions—drinks designed to appeal to people who like the jolt of energy drinks but want different flavors. It launched cranberry and blueberry two years ago, and now it's releasing a tropical flavor that was tested for a limited time last summer. It's also adding zero-calorie editions in orange and cherry to appeal to health-minded millennials.

"The Red Bull logo and can are iconic, but there are now new flavors and an understanding that there's a wider range [of products]," said Richard Turner, Kastner and Partners' managing director.

More than 3,000 billboards in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis and Houston use colors and light to show off the breadth of drinks Red Bull sells with copy like "Choose Your Wings" and "Wings for Every Taste."

"Combining light with energy seems like a pretty obvious one to us," Turner noted. "It feels like it's familiar to an audience that loves the festival scene and the idea of music and light going together."

The ads are placed near retailers and venues that sell Red Bull. For example, Brooklyn Nets fans will see Red Bull banners, videos and digital media in the team's Barclays Center.

Not coincidentally, this weekend's launch is timed with Daylight Savings Time, when drivers and commuters may need a little extra energy boost after losing an hour of time on Sunday.

There is also a heavy social and digital push behind the campaign, including takeover adds on Pandora, digital promos with Spotify and Thrillist and social video.

The new campaign speaks to the changing tastes of Red Bull's core millennial consumers. As soda sales slip for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Red Bull has new competition in the category. Last year, Coke bought a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage (Red Bull's biggest competitor) and Pepsi-owned Mountain Dew is marketing its two new energy drink flavors to millennial men.

"The energy category is still very dynamic, but we've talked with Red Bull about expanding their customer base by offering low-calorie, low-sugar alternatives," Turner said.

The U.S. campaign runs through this summer, and a similar push will begin in Canada in April.

Check out the creative below.  

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.